A survivor who lost nine of her relatives when the duck boat they were travelling aboard on an US lake has said the captain told passengers not to bother putting on life jackets. Tia Coleman told the Indianapolis television station WXIN that she and a nephew were the only survivors among 11 relatives on the boat, which went down in bad weather on Table Rock lake in Branson, Missouri , on Thursday, killing 17 people.
Coleman said she had lost all her children in the deadliest accident of its kind in the US in nearly two decades. She also said the captain had told passengers they would not need life jackets. By the time of the accident it was too late, she said. Tracy Beck, of Kansas City, Missouri, said she recalled the family members waiting in line. After they stopped for a picture, she said a ticket inspector realised that they should have boarded at a different location and reassigned them. The Branson community hosted two vigils on Friday night, one in the car park outside the duck tour business and another at a local church.
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An initial investigation into the accident has blamed thunderstorms and winds that approached hurricane strength, but it is not clear why the amphibious vehicle had ventured on to the lake in the first place. The risk of severe weather was apparent hours before the boat left shore.
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The National Weather Service in Springfield, about 40 miles north of Branson, issued a severe thunderstorm watch for its immediate area on Thursday, saying winds of up to 70 mph were likely. It followed up at pm with a severe thunderstorm warning for three counties that included Branson and the lake. The boat went down about 40 minutes later, shortly after 7pm. Sachse Municipal Complex. Terrell Police Headquarters.
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