Source: 17 who died in duck boat tragedy weren’t wearing life jackets when found

BRANSON, Mo. —  The 17 people who died in the duck boat tragedy last week in southwestern Missouri were not wearing life jackets when found, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Sunday, July 22.

The Ride the Ducks Branson amphibious vessel had 31 people on board when it set sail Thursday on Table Rock Lake near Branson as a severe thunderstorm whipped up intense winds and waves.

The boat sank 40 feet and then rolled to an area 80 feet deep, according to Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader.

Fourteen people survived the tragedy.

There were life jackets on the boat, according to Rader, who said he didn’t know if people were wearing them.

State investigators are looking into whether any criminal acts were committed, according to Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the cause of the sinking.

A memorial service was held Sunday for the people killed.

The service was held at the College of the Ozarks, near Table Rock Lake, where the duck boat sank Thursday. The accident happened as winds approached hurricane strength.

Nine of the people who died were part of one Indiana family. Online fundraisers have raised nearly $400,000 for their funeral expenses.

Two GoFundMe campaigns are underway for the Coleman family, who lost three generations in the duck boat accident.

GoFundMe spokeswoman Katherine Cichy says it’s verified one campaign that’s raising money. Ingrid Coleman Douglas tells The Indianapolis Star a second campaign is also legitimate.

Others killed were from Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois.