Missouri duck boat sinks as intense thunderstorm rips through the area

A duck boat with 31 people aboard capsized and sunk in Branson, Missouri late July 19, 2018, as an intense thunderstorm swept over the area. 13 people were killed and 4 remain missing as of early Friday, July 20.

An intense thunderstorm hit Branson, a popular vacation spot, with heavy rain, sustained winds over 65 km/h (40 mph) and wind gusts up to 101 km/h (63 mph) about 18:30 local time.

Just a half an hour later, emergency crews responded to “Mass Casualty Incident” involving a World War Two duck boat with 31 people aboard on Table Rock Lake.

Video footage shot by a witness on shore showed two duck boats struggling through rough waters. One of them returned to the shore but the other was driven back by the wind and eventually capsized. 

13 people have been confirmed dead, aged from 1 to 70, and four remain missing as of early July 20. A spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Center Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the incident.

In a statement released by the “Ride the Ducks,” owner of the capsized boat, said the weather was ‘calm’ when the boat tour trip began and the storm that sank the boat ‘came out of nowhere.’

Steve Lindenberg, a NWS meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri, said the agency had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Branson area on Thursday evening ahead of winds of more than 100 km/h (60 mph). “It’s a warning telling people to take shelter,” he said.

Duck boat – or DUKW – is a six-wheel-drive amphibious truck originally used by the U.S. military in World War II to transport personnel and supplies over land and water.

Some 21 000 DUKWs were produced during WWII, many of which served on D-Day and in the Normandy landings. They were later modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.

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Featured image: Duck boat struggling through rough water during an intense thunderstorm in Missouri on July 19, 2018

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