WARNING: Some may find the above video disturbing.
BRANSON, Mo. (KFSM) — A video captured by a passenger in a nearby vessel shows a duck boat struggling through white-capped waters on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., just before it capsized and sank.
Thirty one passengers and crew were on board when the boat sank. All of the bodies have now been recovered. Seventeen are dead.
Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said 29 passengers and two crew members were on board.
The Missouri Highway Patrol Dive Team resumed its search at daylight and recovered the remaining missing bodies Friday morning.
A video captured by Jennie Phillips-Hudson Carr, posted on Facebook and shown by CNN, shows the Ride the Duck tour boat being battered by the waves as it struggles to stay on the surface.
The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area at the time. Winds were reported at up to 60 miles per hour.
Ripley Entertainment Branson, the parent company for the Ride the Ducks boat tour, released a statement this morning:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred at Ride the Ducks Branson. This incident has deeply affected all of us. Words cannot convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking.
“We will continue to do all we can to assist the families who were involved and the authorities as they continue with the search and rescue. The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority. Ride the Ducks will be closed for business while we support the investigation, and to allow time to grieve for the families and the community.
“Thank you for your support, and we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with the families during this time.”
Jim Pattison, Jr. spoke over the phone to “CBS This Morning” and said the sinking was “absolutely devastating.”
Pattison was asked about the thunderstorms in the area at the time, and whether the boats should have been on the water in such weather conditions.
“There was a fast-moving storm that came out of nowhere,” he said. “It was moving at a higher rate of speed than…than…” he trailed off. “But to answer your question, no, it shouldn’t have been in the water if what happened happened.”
He said life preservers were available on board, and that the boat captains had been trained for emergency situations.
Pattison said in 47 years, there had been no major incidents with the duck boats in Branson until Thursday’s sinking.
The duck boats were originally used by the military in World War II to travel on both land and water before being adapted by various companies into tour boats. They are not without a troubled past.
In 1999, a duck boat capsized in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on Lake Hamilton and killed 13 people of the 20 on board. Witnesses said the boat took on water almost immediately after hitting the lake and capsized within 30 seconds.
In 2015, a duck boat crashed on land and killed five people in Seattle.
President Trump issued a statement about the sinking on Twitter on Friday morning, calling the incident “Such a tragedy, such a great loss.”