13 dead as tourist boat sinks in US lake
Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said 31 people had been aboard the amphibious vessel, known as a duck boat for its wheels that allow it to ride on land in addition to floating low on the water.
Rader told journalists that some of the passengers managed to reach shore after the boat capsized and began to sink.
Seven people have been hospitalized, he said, and a local hospital said two were in critical condition.
Rader said the incident was caused by heavy winds and the tour boat had been making its way to land when it capsized. Two duck boats had been on the water at the time, according to Rader, one of which returned safely.
"It just came up real quick," he told AFP, saying the severe weather struck around 6:15 pm local time.
"I've been here most of my life and I never saw a storm this bad," he said, adding that he had not seen a warning from local weather stations.
Steve Lindenberg, a meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri, some 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Branson, told AFP a string of severe thunderstorms had barreled through the area causing significant tree damage and downed power lines.
Meteorologists clocked winds at 74 miles per hour (119 kilometers per hour) and issued a warning to the area at approximately 6:30 pm.
Branson airport experienced a peak gust of 63 miles per hour, Lindenberg said.
"Our hearts are heavy tonight," the City of Branson said in a statement. "This is a very trying time for all those who are involved.
"The City of Branson may be small in size but it is big at its heart." President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences.
"My deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those involved in the terrible boat accident which just took place in Missouri. Such a tragedy, such a great loss. May God be with you all!" he said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)