BRANSON, Mo. - A man who witnessed a deadly Missouri duck boat accident while aboard a nearby riverboat says the storm that swamped the smaller vessel appeared suddenly.
Brayden Malaske, of Harrah, Oklahoma, says no one was worried about the weather when he boarded the Showboat Branson Belle with family shortly before the storm hit Thursday night. He says Table Rock Lake seemed calm but that it ``suddenly got very dark.''
He says he didn't think the duck boats would have a problem despite the weather because they are repurposed military vehicles. He says that when the duck boat capsized, people aboard the riverboat tried to guide the passengers to safety. He says he saw a woman holding on for ``dear life'' to one of the riverboat's paddles before being rescued.
The National Weather Service issued multiple severe weather warnings in the hours before a duck boat capsized in southern Missouri, killing 17 people.
Meteorologist Kelsey Angle says a severe thunderstorm watch was issued for the area around 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The watch indicated that conditions were favorable for the formation of severe thunderstorms with winds reaching 70 mph.
The Weather Service then issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 6:32 p.m. for the three southwest Missouri counties that include Branson and Table Rock Lak. It followed up with a statement at 7:02 p.m. that 70 mile-per-hour winds were possible.
The first 911 calls about the boat capsizing were reported seven minutes later.
Wind gusts in the Branson area reached 50 to 60 mph.