Seventeen people, including eleven members of one family, have died after a pleasure vessel sank on a Missouri lake on Table Rock Lake in Stone County, Missouri, on Thursday 19 July 2018. The vessel, described as an amphibous duck boat, reportedly got into trouble after a thundestorm struck, leading to a rapid deteriation of conditions. The victims are described as having been between 1 and 76 years in age.
A duck boat carrying tourists on Table Rock Lake in Missouri, shortly before sinking on 19 July 2018. Ron Folsom/Reuters.
Duck boats are amphiboius vehicles similar to those used in the Normandy landings during the Second World War. They are widely used as pleasure vehicles on inland waterways in parts of the US, but questions have been repeatedly raised about their suitability for such a role, as they do not cope well with rough weather conditions. The vehicle that sank on 19 July was reportedly carrying 31 people when it went down, and is known to have had life jackets on board, but it is unclear whether they were issued to passengers or whether passengers were waring them if they were. An investigation into the event is being led by the US Coastguard.
Thunderstorms are caused by heating of the land or water surface by the sun, causing air to expand, and thus rise, this causes more air to be drawn in to fill the gap, which is in turn heated and rises, repeating the process and creating a cycle. As the air rises it expands, and therefore cools, losing its capacity to retain water, leading to precipitation (rainfall), with higher levels of rainfall occurring when the initial air mass is warmer and more humid.
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