BRANSON, Mo. – The duck boat where 17 people lost their lives was pulled out of Table Rock Lake Monday morning.
U.S. Coast Guard led the salvage operations for the boat which began at 9 a.m. Coast guard divers along with divers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol used a device to attach the boat. Crews started to pull the boat to surface around 10 a.m. Officials will drain the boat and load it onto a trailer where it will be transferred to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Life vests appeared when crews started to raise the boat. No one on the boat was wearing a life vest when boat capsized. Regulations require personal floatation devices be on board for all passengers.
Federal officials hope a video recorder recovered from the duck boat will provide them with more information about the final minutes leading up to the sinking of the boat. Divers photographed everything at the bottom of the lake of the duck boat and will use the photos as part of the investigation.
The boat sank Thursday evening as storms brought almost hurricane-strength winds to the lake. Seventeen of the 31 passengers died. MORE: Branson duck boat tragedy: 17 dead, including 9 from one family
The NTSB is asking for anyone who witnessed or recorded the sinking to contact federal officials at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Coast Guard safety zone that was previously in place around Showboat Branson Belle is no longer in effect.
“The outpouring of support by the City of Branson and members of this community is truly heartwarming and speaks to the character of Branson,” said Capt. Scott Stoermer, commander of Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River. “We are extremely grateful to Showboat Branson Belle and their employees for graciously allowing us to use their facilities as our base of operations over the past few days. The tremendous cooperation and professionalism from everyone involved, especially the Missouri State Highway Patrol, allowed us to quickly and safely complete salvage operations so we may continue to focus on investigations and understanding all the factors that led to this tragedy.”