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8 Dead, Others Unaccounted for After Boat Capsizes, Sinks on Table Rock Lake

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Sara Karnes
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Branson Tri-Lakes News, Used With Permission

Stone County Sherriff Doug Rader says eight people died Thursday evening and several are unaccounted for after a tourist boat capsized and sank on Table Rock Lake.

“At this time, we have eight confirmed fatalities,” Rader said late Thursday night. He said those fatalities were caused by drowning.

The Stone County Sherriff’s Department told KSMU the boat that sank belonged to the company Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.  Calls and emails to that company requesting more information on the boat were not immediately returned.

A strong line of severe thunderstorms ripped through the Ozarks region this evening, including Stone and Taney Counties, knocking down trees and disrupting power lines.

Missouri State Highway Patrol dive team was on its way to the scene in the 9:00 hour, Rader said. The Western Taney County Dive Team was already in the water by that time.

“Any family member, or anybody that was on the ‘duck’ that has missing family members or has questions, please go to Branson City Hall,” he said.

According to a public Facebook post made at 8:20 PM by the Southern Stone County Fire Protection District, a “tourist type boat” was involved in the incident on the lake, and several patients had been transported to the hospital.  The fire district described the incident as a “tourist” type boat.

The tourist boat Showboat Branson Belle is being used as a staging operation for the emergency responders; the Southern Stone County Fire Protection District specified that the “tourist type boat” involving the casualties is not the Branson Belle.

This story is developing, and we will continue to update this post as details are confirmed.

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As News Director, Jennifer oversees news gathering and production for KSMU-Ozarks Public Radio; in her role as Content Coordinator, she makes sure all programs on KSMU, including those produced locally, nationally, and internationally, flow seamlessly over the air. She trains the student reporters and announcers and hosts the monthly program Engaging the Community. Follow her on Twitter @jennwritesmoore.