Are duck boats safe? Concerns raised after Branson, Mo. tragedy

Are duck boats safe? Concerns raised after Branson, Mo. tragedy

Are duck boats safe? Concerns raised after Branson, Mo. tragedy

U.S. Coast Guard officials said the operator, Ride the Ducks Branson, voluntarily halted its lake tours as the inquiry proceeds.

Coleman and 30 others rode the duck boat Thursday night when a severe thunderstorm swept through Table Rock Lake, tossing the boat around in almost hurricane force winds and six foot swells.

She said somehow she was able to reach the boat.

Readings near Branson when the boat went down showed winds of up to 73 miles per hour (117 kph), two miles (3.2 km) shy of hurricane force, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Saturday.

"I look at my family here, and this could've been us", Ed Brown, who was at the vigil, told CNN affiliate KMIZ.

The captain was among those who survived.

A duck boat carrying 31 passengers and crew has capsized in Missouri leaving eleven people dead.

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Coleman lost her husband, three children, and parents-in-law among others.

Herschend Family Entertainment, located in Peachtree City owns the duck boat rides at Stone Mountain and previously owned the rides in Branson until last December. The largest fundraiser so far benefits the Coleman family, which lost nine members in the accident.

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But Paul said the boat would have been heavily modified to make it longer so that only part of it dates to World War II.

Baker said he was concerned with reports that passengers may not have been wearing life preservers as the violent storm hit. But when they took a boat tour on Table Rock Lake Thursday and the water started pouring in, Coleman didn't know what to do. 13 bodies were recovered, and on Friday, dive teams found four more within the boat, which came to rest upright in 80 feet of water.

"I'm sure eventually it will be subpoenaed", he said.

In total, 17 died on the capsized boat. "Those who were once strangers to us quickly became family", Best said.

Even as the swells grew, she and her family didn't feel fear, and the crew, she says, never told them to put on the life jackets.

Passengers from a nearby boat, who Coleman called "angels", threw her life preservers and jumped in the water to help her and others.

Coleman said the captain of the boat told them "don't worry about grabbing the life jackets - you won't need them", so none of the family members grabbed them. Authorities identified them as 45-year-old Angela Coleman, 1-year-old Arya Coleman, 69-year-old Belinda Coleman, 76-year-old Ervin Coleman, 7-year-old Evan Coleman, 40-year-old Glenn Coleman, 70-year-old Horace Coleman, 2-year-old Maxwell Coleman, and 9-year-old Reece Coleman.

Duck boats are amphibious vessels that were originally used by the US military in World War II to transport troops and supplies by land and sea.

In an interview with ABC News reporter Bill Hutchinson, he said that the Ride the Ducks boats should not have been on that water at all that day due to the ominous weather reports.

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