The Missouri governor’s office announced that nine of the 17 people who died in a duck boat accident in Branson were from the same family, according to reports.
Two members of that family survived, the office stated, The Associated Press reported.
Five adults and four children (all under the age of 10) from the family were killed. pic.twitter.com/2JRrBotrSi
— Katie Cox RTV6 (@KatieJoCox) July 20, 2018
The boat sank in a severe storm on Thursday evening, according to the office.
“What happened here last night was a heartbreaking tragedy, and we must all work together to support the victims and their families,” Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, said on the state’s website.
“The courageous efforts of emergency responders and civilian rescuers helped avert an even worse tragedy, as people rushed to help in extremely dangerous conditions. I was inspired by the stories I heard from some of those who were part of the rescue effort and tremendously encouraged by the strength of the family members of victims I met with today. We pray for all those who were affected by this terrible tragedy.”
Twenty-nine passengers and two crew members were on the boat in Table Rock Lake by Branson when thunderstorms hit the area, officials told ABC News.
An investigation into the matter is underway, said officials.
“We’re a community of smiles,” Branson Mayor Karen Best told ABC. “But for the past 16, 17, 18 hours, we’ve been a town of tears and a town of comfort, and just making sure that we can give them everything they need.”
“While they’re investigating, the thing to do is we’re keeping our focus on the families, and once again keeping them in our thoughts and our prayers,” Best added. “We’re very resilient.”
Duck boats can travel on land and water, but they have been involved in a number of high-profile fatal accidents.
“Duck boats are death traps,” said Andrew Duffy, an attorney whose law firm handled litigation related to duck boat accidents, The Associated Press reported.
“They’re not fit for water or land because they are half car and half boat.”