Divers Find More Bodies In Missouri Lake After Tour Boat Accident
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Divers have found two more bodies overnight after a tour boat carrying 31 people on a Missouri lake sank in a sudden storm. Officials now say 13 people are dead, including children. Four people are still missing. At a press conference just now, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader had this to say.
(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)
DOUG RADER: It's been a long night and been a very trying night. And please keep all of our families involved and all of our first responder personnel in your thoughts and prayers.
GREENE: Let's go to Branson, Mo., now and KSMU reporter Jennifer Moore. Hi, Jennifer.
JENNIFER MOORE, BYLINE: Hi, David.
GREENE: This is just - this is tragic to talk about. I hope you can take us through exactly what happened here. I guess this is one of those duck boats, the popular attraction that many of us know. And what happened?
MOORE: Yeah, it sure is. This happened last night as a storm rolled into the region. And 31 people were aboard this amphibious boat, having a good time apparently. And then all of a sudden, this tragedy hit when the storm rolled in.
GREENE: So I've read that this storm came from a direction that people in Branson aren't used to. Is that what made the difference here?
MOORE: I don't know if that made all the difference, but it was certainly unusual. Yes, it came from the north, whereas our storms here in the Ozarks typically come from south, southwest, up from Arkansas and Oklahoma. That's what we're used to. Another unusual thing about this storm, though, was the speed of the storm system itself. It really barreled across our region at a pretty fast clip, around 65 miles per hour according to the National Weather Service.
GREENE: Wow. Yeah, you can imagine these duck boats not being made for that. There were - there was another duck boat, right? There were two of them who seemed to get into trouble in the storm. What happened to the other one?
MOORE: Yeah, that's right. And some video is emerging now from people who were aboard a larger paddleboat on basically a lake cruise boat, if you will. And that video shows one of those duck boats making it through those choppy waters, really struggling but eventually making it on its way to shore. But the second one really started to struggle and take some - take on some water. And it was a very dramatic video. But one of those boats did make it safely to shore, the other did not.
GREENE: Jennifer, it looks like the captain of the boat that went down survived this. Do we know anything about him?
MOORE: We don't know many details about him at this point, but at the press conference that just took place moments ago, Stone County did confirm that the captain and operator of the boat that went down did survive. So needless to say, investigators will clearly be very interested to hear what he has to say going forward.
GREENE: Yeah, that'll be - key conversations to have. Which agencies, like, and levels of government are actually handling this investigation now as it goes forward?
MOORE: Yeah, it's a multi-pronged approach that they're taking on the federal, state and county level. Both the NTSB and the Coast Guard are arriving this morning, but also the Missouri State Highway Patrol divers are still in the water. And their investigative team will also be looking at this. And, David, investigators are asking anyone who may have video of this tragedy to share that with authorities as well.
GREENE: OK. Again, that tour boat accident in Missouri. Officials are now saying 13 people have died, and we'll be updating you on the story throughout the day. That's KSMU's Jennifer Moore. Jennifer, thank you very much.
MOORE: Thank you, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.