Severe thunderstorm warning was issued moments before duck boat capsized

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Nine people from one family are among the 17 who died when a duck boat sank on a Missouri lake, says the state governor's office.

A survivor of the tragedy, who lost nine of her family members in the accident, says the captain of the boat told her family not to worry about life jackets, Fox affiliate WXIN reported.

People pray next to a vehicle believed to belong to a victim of a last night's duck boat accident, Friday, July 20, 2018 in Branson, Mo.

Divers are still searching for four missing people.

There were life jackets on board the boat, but it's unclear whether they were used, officials said. The accident happened amid churning waters and stormy weather. Two of those on board were crew members; the Captain survived, the driver did not.

Afterward, the National Transportation Safety Board warned that the boats' canopy roofs presented a hazard, making it hard for people, even those wearing life jackets, to escape if one of the vessels capsized. He said he has not spoken to the survivors yet.

Strong waves capsized the boat during a severe storm. Both Rose and Ingrid Coleman shared a recent photo of the family, which includes all the victims except 1-year-old Arya.

Parson committed all state resources to help in the investigation.

The canopy design was, however, never addressed by the US Coast Guard, which is typically responsible for regulating marine vessels, and authorities say sightseeing duck boats have been involved in fatal accidents ever since.

Dozens of people left flowers, cards and balloons at a vigil held Friday at the Ride the Ducks building in Branson.

"The wind really picked up bad, and debris was flying everywhere, and just the waves were really rough", Lester told "Good Morning America" in an interview Friday.

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"I felt the water temperature raise to warm", she said. "We issue (recommendations) with the expectation that the recipients will take effective action on them". At least two were in a critical condition in hospital.

In their initial assessment, authorities blamed thunderstorms and winds that approached hurricane strength.

Coleman told WXIN-TV in Indianapolis that she and a nephew were among 11 relatives on a duck boat Thursday night on Table Rock Lake near Branson.

An off-duty deputy working security helped rescue people, Rader said, without providing details. Dive teams from several law enforcement agencies assisted in the effort.

President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences Friday, extending his deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those involved.

Many people are wondering why the duck boat was in the water during a storm, and Ride the Ducks Branson owner, Jim Pattison Jr., has offered some insight into that question.

Coleman said she was trapped inside the boat, but managed to swim to shore.

Branson, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City, is a country-themed tourist mecca built on a reputation for patriotic and religious-themed shows in numerous theaters.

"They go in and kind of around an island and back, and we had other boats in the water earlier, and it had been a very sort of calm experience up until this came very suddenly".

Police said 31 people were aboard the vessel, known as a duck boat for its wheels that allow it to ride on land and float low on the water.

Safety advocates have sought improvements since the Arkansas deaths.

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