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NTSB releases duck boat information on quick weather change

By Susan McFarland
The Coast Guard raises the duck boat that capsized and sank last week killing 17 on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo. The amphibious vessel had 31 people on board before a severe thunderstorm struck. Pool Photo by Nathan Papes/News-Leader/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/981a983c2890e8fc4c8afcb019a73ac9/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The Coast Guard raises the duck boat that capsized and sank last week killing 17 on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo. The amphibious vessel had 31 people on board before a severe thunderstorm struck. Pool Photo by Nathan Papes/News-Leader/UPI | License Photo

July 28 (UPI) -- Videos recovered from the duck boat that capsized in Missouri shows how in seven minutes the boat went from gliding in calm water with children taking turns behind the wheel to distress calls from the captain as water entered the boat during a storm.

A report, released Friday by the National Transportation Safety Board, shows a timeline before the boat sank in rough waters July 19 as a storm passed over Table Rock Lake, killing 17 of the 31 people aboard, including nine members of the same family.

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Video and audio from five angles were captured on the device, with four cameras outward-facing and one pointed inward, the NTSB said in a statement included with the timeline.

The video was taken from a memory card and removable hard drive July 21, before the U.S. Coast Guard on raised the boat from 80 feet of water on Monday.

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"The information does not contain analysis. As such, no conclusions regarding the cause of the accident should be made from this preliminary information," the NTSB said.

Factors under investigation include whether the passengers were instructed about exits during an emergency, the use of life vests and whether the captain was aware of the impending storm.

National Weather Service officials have said they provided sufficient warning about the approaching storm.

RELATED 17 dead -- including 9 from one family -- after 'duck boat' sinks

Survivors have said the crew was aware of the forecast because it shifted the itinerary of the tour, choosing to hit the water first to beat the storm, something similar to what the timeline reveals.

"The crew was told to take the water portion of the tour first, by an individual who briefly stepped onto the rear of the vehicle," the timeline revealed. "As the passengers were loading, the captain made a verbal reference to looking at the weather radar prior to the trip."

Robert Mongeluzzi, an attorney who sued the tour boat company after two passengers were killed in a 2010 incident on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, said "company policy would be to forego water entry if severe weather is approaching the area."

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The report said during the final minutes of the recording, water occasionally splashes inside the vehicle's passenger compartment. The video cuts out just over 35 minutes after the duck boat departed.

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A few minutes before entering the water, the captain began a safety briefing regarding the water portion of the tour, the timeline revealed.

"The briefing included the location of emergency exits as well as the location of the life jackets. The captain then demonstrated the use of a life jacket and pointed out the location of the life rings," the timeline said.

Tia Coleman, who survived but lost her husband, three children and five other family members, spoke with news media from her hospital bed one week ago. She said the captain of the boat told them they wouldn't need life preservers.

The funeral for her immediate family was Friday at Grace Apostolic Church in Indianapolis.

The lives of five other family members were celebrate Saturday in Eastern Star Church, also in Indianapolis.

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