Concerns Raised About the Safety of Duck Boats Nationwide After Missouri Vessel Capsizes

Playing The Last Terrifying Moments of the Doomed Missouri Duck Boat

While severe weather is being blamed for a tourist boat disaster in Branson, Missouri that's left 17 people dead now  serious questions are being asked about why that boat, and so many others, were caught by surprise by the sudden storm that turned deadly.

The drowning of 17 people on a duck boat is now raising questions about the safety of the vessels at tourist sites across America. 

Two duck boats were on the lake outside Branson, Missouri, when a fierce thunderstorm swept in.

Video from one of the boats shows the captain and a tour guide struggling to control the ship in the heavy swell. Fortunately, that boat reached shore safely. 

But the other capsized, with 31 adults and children on board. Among the dead were nine members of the same family.

Passengers on The Branson Belle — a popular showboat — saw the tragedy unfold. It's by far the worst disaster involving duck boats.

In 2010, a duck boat with engine trouble was crushed by a barge in Philadelphia. Two teenagers drowned. 

Duck boats are a favorite attraction in Branson and the captain is always instructing passengers on basic safety on board such as indicating where the life preservers are and how to locate emergency exits. 

Could there be something about duck boats that is dangerous?

"Once they start sinking, they go down quickly," Attorney Drew Duffy, who represented victims of the Philadelphia accident, told Inside Edition. "When they go down quickly, they have these fixed canopies on top that pulls people down with them. You can't escape from the duck boat like normal boats." 

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