ST. LOUIS (AP) – Video and audio recordings of a fatal tourist boat accident in Missouri show that the lake has become a deadly hazard within minutes of calm, the National Road Safety Council said Friday.
The NTSB cited preliminary findings from the VCR camera system that was rescued by divers after the duck boat sank on July 19 at Table Rock Lake near Branson. Seventeen of the 31 people on board died, including nine Indianapolis family members.
The material was studied in a laboratory in Washington, but the agency has not yet analyzed the results and has not drawn any conclusions on the cause of the accident, which has been the most heavily inflicted at sea accidents in recent decades.
However, the results paint a daunting picture of the last few minutes before the boat went down.
The captain and the driver boarded the ship at 6:27 am The excursion starts ashore at a terminal in Branson. Usually, the ship first rides the popular country music and entertainment community before going for a 20-minute boat ride to the lake. The driver drives the vehicle ashore and the captain takes over the water.
But the video footage shows that at 6:28 pm someone briefly stepped on the back of the vehicle and told the crew to take the water part of the tour first. A minute later, as the passengers boarded, the captain made an indication of the weather radar before the ride.
The ship arrived at the lake a few minutes before 7:00 pm. and the captain informed the passengers about the location of emergency exits and life jackets, then demonstrated the use of life jackets and pointed out the location of the lifebuoys.
The ship entered the water around 1
But suddenly, shortly after 7:00 pm, white whitecaps appeared on the water and the wind increased, the NTSB said. The captain returned to the driver's seat.
The driver dropped plastic side curtains and at 19:01 in the afternoon. the captain made a comment about the storm.
At 19:03. The captain called a radio, but the contents were incomprehensible. A minute later, an electronic tone connected to the bilge alarm sounded until about a minute later, when the captain reached down and the alarm stopped.
The captain made another call on a handheld radio at 7:05, but the content was again incomprehensible.
In the next few minutes, water splashed into the passenger compartment.
At 19:07, an electronic tone linked to the re-enabled bilge alarm.
At 19:08. The inward video shot ended when the vessel was still on the water surface.
About eight minutes after the appearance of the white caps, the video recording ended.
The sound quality varies greatly throughout the recording and affects the intelligibility of what is said. Approximately 18:27:08 – The captain and driver boarded the previously empty vehicle.
- The driver sat in the driver's seat and the captain sat in the side bench to the right of the driver. (The captain operates the duck on the water and the driver operates duck on the road.)
- Roughly 18:28:00 – The crew was instructed to take the water part of the tour first, by a person who briefly stopped by Rear of the vehicle. About 18:29:13 – When the passengers were loaded, the captain made a verbal reference to looking at the weather radar before the trip. Approximately 18:33:10 – The driver a passenger count of 29 and shortly thereafter, the vehicle left the terminal facility. The captain told the tour while the vehicle was moving. From about 6:50 pm – Near the boat ramp, the captain began a safety briefing regarding the water content of the tour. The briefing included the location of emergency exits and the location of the lifejackets. The captain then showed the use of a life jacket and pointed out the location of the lifebuoys. The captain sat in the driver's seat and the driver sat down directly on the seat.
- About 18:55:20 – The captain announced to the passengers that they would go into the water. The boat entered the water. The water seemed calm at that time.
- Between about 18:56:22 and 19:00:38 – The captain allowed four different children to sit in the driver's seat while he watched and assisted. Approximately 19: 00:25 – On the water quickly white whitecaps appeared and the wind increased. About 19:00:42 – The captain returned to the driver's seat. The driver lowered both the port and the starboard side curtains.
- About 19:01:01 – The captain made a note about the storm.
- About 19:03:15 – The captain made a handwake whose contents are incomprehensible.
- 19:04:15 – An electronic sound connected to the bilge alarm is activated. About 19:05:21 – The captain grabs with his right hand and the bilge alarm stops down
- About 19:05:40 – The captain makes a page whose content is currently incomprehensible.
- In the last minutes of the record – water occasionally splashes into the passenger compartment. (The low frame rate and relatively low resolution make it very difficult to be more accurate in the preview.)
- About 19:07:26 – An electronic sound associated with the activated bilge alarm.
- 19:08:27 – The inward shot ended while the vehicle was still standing on the water surface.
Ripley Entertainment, the owner of Ride the Ducks of Branson, declined to comment on the video.
A private inspector who examined 24 duck boats for Ripley Entertainment in August, including the one that sank, said that if the bilge alarm went off, it would be a sign that "there is a considerable amount of water in the hull."
"It just was not evacuated," said Steve Paul, owner of Test Drive Technologies in the St. Louis area.
Hanna reported from Topeka, Kansas.
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