UPDATED: 12:30 p.m.
An investigation of a tourist boat accident on a Missouri lake that claimed 17 lives will look at whether operators of the boat violated Coast Guard-issued limitations by venturing into the water as thunderstorms threatened and struck the region.
The Ride the Ducks in Branson tour on Thursday occurred as the area was under a severe thunderstorm warning. A storm that moved through the area generated near-hurricane strength winds.
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Tasha Sadowicz says the boat that sank passed an annual inspection in February. But Sadowicz says the “certificate of inspection” places limitations on when boats can enter the water, based on wind speed and the height of waves.
Sadowicz says investigators want to know whether the boat violated the limitations, and whether operators were adequately monitoring the weather.
A Missouri lawmaker says an investigation needs to play out before decisions are made about how to increase the safety of amphibious vehicles like duck boats after 17 people were killed when one sunk last week at Table Rock Lake near Branson.
State Rep. Jeff Justus said Monday that he’ll support any needed improvements. But the Branson Republican says it’s not yet clear what happened and what could be corrected.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
Former NTSB Chairman James Hall said Saturday that the boat’s design makes the World War II-era vessels prone to the kind of accidents that led to the Thursday’s sinking. Hall said the amphibious vessel should be banned from such use.
The U.S. Coast Guard says the National Transportation Safety Board will take custody of the duck boat that capsized in Missouri now that it’s been raised from Table Rock Lake.
U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Scott Stoermer spoke to reporters after the boat was raised Monday morning. Seventeen people were killed Thursday when the boat sank amid a thunderstorm that generated near-hurricane strength winds.
Stoermer says it took until Monday to remove the boat from the lake because that’s how much time was needed to amass the necessary equipment.
Stoermer says the boat was photographed underwater before being brought to the surface. He said he could not discuss specifics of the boat’s condition.
Nine of the people who died belonged to one Indiana family. Others killed came from Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois.