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Flags fly at half staff in Missouri as ‘city of tears’ mourning for 17 lost in duck boat accident

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Gov. Pastor praise the heroes who helped save duck boat victims

The governor of Missouri, says the research is underway into the accident that capsized on a boat in Table Rock Lake, killing 17, urges the thoughts and prayers for the victims.

BRANSON, missouri. – Flags flew at half staff Saturday at various hotels, motels and inns along the road to Table Rock Lake in Missouri in honor of the 17 people who lost their lives after Thursday’s horrifying duck boat accident.

On Which Resort Branson Hotel, the four women stood silently in a circle near the American flag, holding hands and praying for the victims of the tragedy.

Among them were Tina Abraham, of Chicago; Tiffany Tuttle and Lisa Cardell, New York; and Sandra Ingle, of Silver City, Missouri. None of the women knew the victims. They did not even know of each other.

“It doesn’t matter,” Abraham told Fox News. “People come together when things like this happen. That can be one of us or our family on the duck [boat].”

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Missouri duck boat capsized in a sudden storm

“We saw [Abraham]. The tears stood in her eyes. We are all mothers. We decided to come,” Cardell said. “We didn’t know that the people on the boat, but our hearts hurt for them.”

It was the same feeling echoed Friday night by hundreds of mourners who were present at the makeshift vigils on the banks of Table Rock Lake, at the Brookside Church in Branson and on the Ride the Ducks car park.

“This is my community for 10 years, so just hearing about it last night, I felt completely helpless at home, not feel as if there is anything I can do, so just come tonight was kind of my emotional way of showing support,” Alyssa Ambrosier told a reporter Friday. “Even though it is not much what I just felt like it was my way of being part of the community, sharing my heart, but I could.”

Mayor Karen Best said its “community of smiles” has turned into a “city of tears”, but said Branson is strong and will get through the tragedy that claimed so many lives.

The captain of the boat was one of the 14 survivors, seven of them were injured.

Named for their ability to travel on land and in the water, duck boats have been involved in other serious accidents in the past, including the death of more than 40 people since 1999.

Five students were killed in 2015 in Seattle as a duck boat collided with a bus. Thirteen people died in 1999, when a boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.

People pray by a car thought to belong to a victim of Thursday’s boating accident before a vigil on the parking lot of Ride the Ducks Friday, July 20, 2018, in Branson, missouri.

(AP)

“Duck boats are death traps,” said Andrew Duffy, a lawyer whose Philadelphia law firm handled disputes in connection with two fatal duck boat accident. “They are not suitable for water or on the land, because they are half the car and half of the boat.”

Safety advocates have sought improvements and complained that there are too many bodies controlling the boats with different security requirements.

The boats were originally designed for the army, in particular for the transport of troops and supplies in the second world War. They were later modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.

Passengers on a nearby boat, described the chaos on the lake as the wind picked up and the water turned rough.

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

Lester’s friend, Trent Behr, said she saw a woman in the water and helped to pull her in the boat. He said that he would start with the CPR in a EMT came and took over.

The coast guard and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident. The weather conditions at the time that the boat capsized probably play a large role in the research.

The meteorological service had issued a severe thunderstorm watch around noon on Thursday, followed by a warning at 6:32 pm, about 40 minutes before the boat tipped. Both the watch as a statement, issued on 7:02 pm mentioned the risk of 70 mph winds.

“When we issue a warning, it means take action,” said Kelsey Angle, a weather service meteorologist in Springfield.

The boat sank in 40 feet of water and rolled on its wheels into a deeper area with 80 feet of water.

Divers the ship, which came to rest on its wheels on the lakebed.

Survivor Tia Coleman said that the captain told passengers they didn’t need life jackets. But when the wind kicked up and the boat began to rock violently for capsize, which coats might be the difference between life and death.

“I believe that a lot of people could have been spared,” Coleman said.

“My heart is heavy. Of the 11 of us, only the two of us survive – that is me and my cousin,” Coleman told the station. “I lost all of my children, my brother-in-law.”

Among those who lost their lives in the incident are nine members of the Coleman family; a father and son visiting from Arkansas; a couple of the St’s. Louis area; a few of the Kansas City area who celebrate their birthday, a grandmother from Illinois whose granddaughter managed to survive the drama; and the tenant, who was known as Captain Bob.

Fox News’ Amy’s Place, Elizabeth Zwirz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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