Prayer Needed: Death Toll Rises in Missouri as Search for Missing Boat Passengers Continues

July 20, 2018Jul 20, 2018

On the evening of July 19, a duck boat filled with tourists capsized in high winds. The accident happened on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.

According to authorities, the death toll has risen from the 11 identified on Thursday to at least 13 people. Among the dead is Bob Williams, the driver of the duck boat. Some of the fatalities were also children.

Early Friday, divers found two more bodies. Divers are still searching Friday for four missing people.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace said 14 people survived. That includes seven people who were injured when the boat sank.

The accident was caused by extreme weather. In the Midwest, weather changes rapidly. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Branson at 6:32 P.M.

The National Weather Service said thunderstorms brought winds of 50 to 65 mph. More thunderstorms are forecast for the area.

Passengers on a nearby boat described the chaos when the wind came up.

“Debris was flying everywhere,” Allison Lester said in an interview Friday with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Lester’s boyfriend, Trent Behr, related how he saw the body of a woman in the water. He helped to pull her into a boat and was about to start CPR when an EMT arrived.

A spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Center Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the accident. Of those people, two adults are in critical condition; the others were treated for minor injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigators are expected to arrive on the scene Friday morning. Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company is assisting with the rescue effort in what is their only accident in 40 years.

This isn't the first deadly accident on a duck boat, which can travel on land and in water. Five college students were killed in 2015 in Seattle when a duck boat collided with a bus, and 13 people died in 1999 when a duck boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Duck boats were originally used by the U.S. military in World War II to transport troops and supplies. They were later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.

Please pray for divers that they might find the remaining four people. Please pray for everyone involved—for physical and emotional healing. 

In other news, 17 people are injured in Iowa after a terrifying tornado. Please pray for them.