NTSB releases preliminary report on deadly duck boat sinking

Updated: Aug. 7, 2018 at 10:18 AM CDT
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BRANSON, MO (KFVS) - Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board released their preliminary report Tuesday, August 7 on the deadly duck boat sinking back in July.

According to the NTSB, the amphibious passenger vessel Stretch Duck 7, owned and operated by Ride the Ducks Branson, sank in Table Rock Lake when thunderstorm warnings were issued and when winds of more than 70 miles-per-hour were registered by a nearby vessel.

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Investigators report the sinking of the duck boat happened around 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, July 19 in about 15 feet of water.  The vessel came to rest at the depth of 70 feet on the lake floor.

The duck boat was carrying 31 people. Twenty-nine on the vessel were passengers and the other two were crew members. Seventeen passengers and one crew member died.

The United States Coast Guard declared the accident a major marine casualty, and the NTSB is the lead federal investigative agency.

Also in the preliminary report, investigators are taking steps to review recordings from the Stretch Duck 7.

Missouri State Highway Patrol divers recovered a video recording system from the sunken vessel.  Engineers at the NTSB laboratory have reportedly accessed the data (SIM) card from the recording system and an investigative team has viewed the data.

Other electronic devices such as cell phones and cameras were also recovered from the scene and shipped to the NTSB lab.

After the sunken vessel was salvaged on Monday, July 23, investigators reportedly inspected and tested the duck boat's operational systems.

Along with physical evidence, investigators have reportedly interviewed 33 witnesses, vessel operators, inspectors, and company officials.

The NTSB says their investigation continues and the agency will participate in the upcoming Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation.

According to the NTSB, the agency says it has investigated other amphibious vessel accidents, including the 1999 sinking of the DUKW boat Miss Majestic near Hot Springs, Arkansas; the 2010 collision between a DUKW boat and a tug and barge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and the 2015 road collision between a DUKW boat and a motor coach in Seattle, Washington.

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