(John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star via AP)

Bell Chimes 17 Times At Memorial For Branson Duck Boat Victims

July 22, 2018 - 7:20 pm
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BRANSON, Mo. (WCBS 880/AP) — The 17 people killed when a tourist boat sank in a Missouri lake were remembered Sunday during a service attended by around 200 people in the tourism community of Branson.

A church bell at Williams Chapel at College of the Ozarks chimed 17 times for those who died Thursday at Table Rock Lake, the Joplin Globe reported.

"Today we honor the 17 lives that were lost," said Branson Mayor Karen Best. "We honor the 14 survivors. And we honor the many heroes who did everything in their power to save lives."

The service was held at the college near the site of the accident, which happened as winds approached hurricane strength. The city and college hosted the remembrance for the victims.

Nine of the people who died were part of one Indiana family. Online fundraisers had raised more than $400,000 for their funeral expenses by Sunday afternoon.

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.

A former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board says duck boats aren't designed for commercial recreational use.

James Hall said Saturday that the boat's design makes the World War II-era vessels prone to the kind of accidents that led to the sinking of the boat in Branson.

Hall says the amphibious vessel should be banned from such use. He says he doesn't believe there's a way to make the vehicles safe, particularly in bad weather conditions.

He says ducks boats are an amphibious vehicle designed for an assault on beaches.

Most oversight for the vessels is provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, but Hall says the Coast Guard isn't staffed properly to provide the type of strict oversight necessary to ensure such operations are safe.

Hall was appointed chairman of the NTSB in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. He served as its chairman from 1994 to 2001