A “Ride the Ducks” boat with 30 people onboard capsized on a lake in Missouri, with multiple fatalities being reported in the accident.
The incident took place on Table Rock Lake in Bronson on Thursday evening, Fox 4 KC reported. The tourist boat capsized at close to 7 p.m. near the Branson Belle dock, the report noted. Conditions on the boat were treacherous at the time of the crash, with wind gusts reaching 60 miles per hour at the time of the accident as a storm moved across the lake.
There were multiple agencies on the scene for what police had termed a “mass casualty incident.” Officials have not yet said how many people died in the Ride the Ducks boat accident, the report noted, though some initial reports indicate it may have been at least six people. Many others have been taken to local hospitals, KTTS reported.
Officials said a number of people on board the boat at the time it capsized were children, but did not give a specific number.
Ride the Ducks is a amphibious bus that tours the land around Branson and embarks into Table Rock Lake during a 70-minute ride. The touring company, which has locations across the country, is particularly popular with families. These boats were modeled after U.S. military boats used to transport troops and supplies during World War II, and after the war, gained popularity as sightseeing vehicles.
But these boats have been invovled in a number of fatal accidents, leading them to come under increasing scrutiny, the Associated Press reported.
“In Seattle, after five college students were killed in a 2015 duck boat collision with a bus, the company pulled half its fleet out of service,” the report noted. “In Philadelphia, a duck boat operator suspended its tours indefinitely after three people were killed in two separate crashes. And in Boston, new safety regulations are set to go into effect in April after a duck boat ran over and killed a 28-year-old woman last spring.”
In one of the deadliest incidents, 11 people were killed when a duck boat sank in an Arkansas lake in 1999.
Some of you may recall in May of 1999, an amphibious boat sank on Lake Hamilton in Arkansas on a 'Ride the Duck' type tour. 11 people were killed.— Garrett Lewis (@5NEWSGarrett) July 20, 2018
It sank unexpectedly unlike tonight's incident in Missouri which appears to be weather related.
These incidents led to crackdowns on these boats, and many duck boat companies scaled back their efforts.
In case anyone sees this story that knows I’m in Branson right now with the family, we are all fine and didn’t ride the ducks today, but were thinking about it and know ppl that missed this... https://t.co/0bNzp87S8I— Doug Byrkit (@dbbyrkit) July 20, 2018
Police are still on the scene of the Ride the Ducks crash on Table Rock Lake. They have not yet announced further details on the accident and said it is too early to tell how many people are missing.