Seven others aboard the boat were taken to hospitals, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told reporters at a press conference. Of the seven, two were critically injured, according to the hospital group Cox Health. The others, who included three children, were treated for minor injuries.
The boat capsized as a powerful storm brought strong winds and waves to Table Rock Lake near Branson. Divers will resume searching the water on Friday morning for others still unaccounted for.
A severe thunderstorm warning had been issued for the area just before the boat capsized.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Branson MO, Hollister MO, Cassville MO until 7:30 PM CDT pic.twitter.com/aogg7cVXic
— NWS Severe Tstorm (@NWSSevereTstorm) July 19, 2018
Wind gusts in the area were reported up to 63 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Branson,MO (BBG) ASOS reports gust of 55 knots (63.3 mph) from NNW @ 0025Z
— NWS Mid-South (@nwsmidsouth) July 20, 2018
Winds were likely stronger over the lake itself, meteorologist Steve Linderberg told the Associated Press.
“There’s nothing to slow down winds in an open area,” he said.
Video of the sinking boat’s final moments was captured by a passenger dining on a nearby showboat.
The video, shot by Jennie Phillips-Hudson Carr aboard the larger Showboat Branson Belle, showed wind and waves battering the sinking boat.
“Oh, those poor people,” a woman can be heard saying as the duck boat takes on water.
“Oh no, somebody needs to help them,” another woman says.
In a subsequent video posted by Carr, she says “one of the ducks sank and everybody on board here is trying to get them out of the water” as people are heard in the background working to rescue the victims.
The boat carrying tourists was an amphibious Ride the Ducks craft, one of several attractions in the area that draw families on vacation.
Ride the Ducks in Branson is owned by Ripley Entertainment, owner of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not attractions. Suzanne Smagala-Potts, a spokesperson for the company, told to News it was working with authorities.
An off-duty sheriff’s deputy was in the area at the time the boat sank and helped rescue passengers, the AP reported. Dive teams remained on scene Thursday night.