BRANSON, Mo. – The National Transportation Safety Board has released the preliminary report on the duck boat accident at Table Rock Lake where 17 people lost their lives.
On July 19 around 7:05 p.m., Stretch Duck 7, which is owned and operated by Ride the Ducks Branson, sank in Table Rock Lake. Forecasts for the time of the accident included thunderstorm warnings and data indicated winds of over 70 mph were encountered by a nearby vessel. The boat sank 15 feet and came to rest on the lake floor at a depth of 70 feet.
Thirty-one people were on board at the time of the accident. Seventeen of those on board died, including one of the crew members.
First responded located victims and transported the survivor to nearby hospital. Stretch Duck 7 was a Coast Guard-inspected passenger vessel, according to the report. The US Coast Guard declared the accident a major marine casualty.
Three days after the accident, the NTSB sent a full team to the Branson area. The Coast Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol, National Weather Service and Ride the Ducks Branson were named as parties to the investigation.
On July 23, Stretch Duck 7 was salvaged and transported to a secure facility. Investigators inspected and tested operational systems on the vessel.
The duck boat was equipped with a video recording system, which was recovered from the sunken vessel by the highway patrol dive team and sent to the NTSB laboratory. Investigators are trying to get the data on the system’s hard drive, according to the report. A data (SIM) card for the video recording system was also recovered. The SIM card’s video files were accessed by engineers at the NTSB lab and viewed by the investigative team. Cell phones and a camera were also found and shipped to NTSB labs.
Weather data, including winds speeds were also collected from nearby weather stations. Thirty-three interviews of witnesses, vessel operators, inspectors and company officials were conducted on scene. Investigative work and interviews will continue.