The search for answers into duck boat tragedy that killed 17 tourists

On July 19, the Missouri duck boat capsized and sank in about 80 feet of water in Table Rock Lake, near Branson, Missouri.
8:11 | 07/25/18

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for The search for answers into duck boat tragedy that killed 17 tourists
safe are these at here's ABC's Marcus Moore. Want to be on any boat ever again in my life. Reporter: It ragedy beyond unthinkable fo tia Coleman, what was used to have been a fun I've never had to rer somethingike this. I don't know if the a recove from Reporter: Nine of her loved ones los at on. Drowned along with eight others after their tour boat plungedo thtom of table rock late. Oh, no. Rorter: Yesrday these haunting images of the ducoat being pul fro the water. The bright lifeackets sti unused. The first to emergeth depths of that lake. One of E focuses of the vestigation is deter whether or not the operation and this partir was conduct in accoce with the operational Guida ahe operatiol manual for ride the Dus. Orter: The tour boat carrying 31 PEOP, 39 passengers and two crew members, at the center of roiling debate over the safety of vehicles. Some calling for tou nn nationwide, others saying 'Sime for reforms to be made bstion is, W does that boat go out? They had thunderst warngs. To out on the water like that? Rorter: And questions still remain as thy the captain mannhat boa despite warnings of inclemether and why none ofhe 29 passengers were wearing life vests. Thelife-saving requirements andul require personal action deves be on B for all engers. Rter: Brann, missour need in the ozark mountains, known ahe L mic show capital of the world. When come to Brandon, what's the firstng Y do? Reporter: One of the city's main attrtions, duc boats.this promotial video shows the tud and water. ??? Dri a truck around ??? Reporter: In an archive version of the ride the ducks website T company listed safety as aority quote in addition to modern say equipme ride the ducks patend safety features that no O ducktyle vehicle has, so relax and enj this unique expece. D that isctly whattia colema and three G of her family were hoping for on their annual summer road trip. It was their first time Branson. They decided to take the duck Bo becse her eldest son Reese, who lived autism, lovehe ter. Heoved water and he likes ride, that would work outor everybody. Reporter: All 11amily member pausing for this group photefore gting on tt boat. The tour runs thiroute,irst on land before heading out water. Tia says as they prepared to board they announced a change of pls. Before we left, they jt said, storm coming, so goo the water firo avoid it. Repter: That storm first mentioned thursdayorning on thunderstorm watch, warning O potenal daging winnd hail. By6: P.M. Local , T national wther service upgraded that watch to a rng. Deite the warnings, theoat heed out. Tia says captain poied out the life jackets ab , I'm going to show U WRE they are but you won't needhem to no need to worry. So we didn't grab theporter: A half hour after theather advisory E rolled in with near hurricane-rce winds whipping the calm water into vicious six-foot waves. THIT quickly turned . Hady son right next to me but wn water filled up Bo I could no longeri couldn't feel anybody. I couldn't E. I just remember, I got to get out, I got to out. H gosh. Reporter:nesses on nearby dinner cruise watched ssly as the D boat struggled to stay afloat. Passengers on another duck boat postthis video. That C scramblin to get that boat to E. Need aterescue, will be north of th showboat, will be a has capsid- When I got out INT the W it was ice cold. And I just rr kicking and swimming. Imming upop. And as I was swimmin up I was praying. Said, lord, please let me get to my ba, I G to geo my babies. The waves were crashingr my ce and every time I'd G M ad a little above water I'd he,help! I saw the rbo they were, oh my go they jump in and saving people, they wereing life rafts out to evy. Reporter:nt Baer an Al Lester were on dinner cruise and rushedoater to HP others in need. Actua sawoung lady who was laying T water. We did eventually pp onto the boat. She was unconscious. I was about ready to STA cpr emt did show up at at time. Reporter: Five injured, the bodies of 17 passengers covered, riding R Williams, the boat's driver. Victims raging from 1 T 76 years. Reportedly none of those rescued or who drowned were wearing life s.hest, N members of S family, including her husband a tee young child. She and her -year-old nephew are the only two from herily that survived. I would ask everyboo mby family. As theiful people they were. Reporter: The president of Ripley entertainmt,wns safety record, but he saysven though the storm seemingly C O of nowhere, the boat should never have bn on the water. Shouldn't have been in the water. Hat happen happened Reporter: Steven Paul was hired by ripl's etainment pect those duck boats lastaugust, including the one involved intrsday's incident. Thaisetchuck 7, definitely on my list ofucks I did inspect. Reporter: Heound THR specif safety issues while nocing water safety concerns too. Can speak to the fact of the exhaustng forward ofhe cabin there on the front of the ship. Mechanical design, if you get water up into an engine's exhaust,ventually E engine will flood with ter. D Wil become inoperable. Reporr: He says the standard design of many duck boat leads to other concerns. Those curtains bedown. E being on top of that boat. There'no enginexi on Reporter: A duck at's restrictive canopy cited as a factornnother trady. Back in 1999, there's the accident down in arkansashere th canopy was anissue. In hot springs, Arkansas. NTSB citing tte inadequate maintenance allowed waerhe, the boppy tpping some ssengers inside. That NTSB report the agency stateshat passengers should we jackets if the boat has Ady roofecause they cou become trapped and ow jacket, things W H diet. No mattewhat, I Fike able to get a life et, iould haveaved my baes. Rter: Although it is not yet known exactly W caused the droin deaths of t7 people O Thursday, Paul says thes vehlesould bent from more extensive regulation. Maybe this could have been prevented. If we H som sort of standard process. Repor the boats close to Matthew mcconaughey making it back to thiramp, but it sank about 100 yards away ne the stern of the popular "Brandon belle." De the duc Branson has offered to pay for the funs an medical eens of the victims say wrein deeply saddened by the Trac accident that occurred at the ride the S Branson. Our focus from the start has been oe guests, families, emploes where affected last ay. This attered. Going home, I already know it's goi to be cpletely, completely difficult. I don't know how I'm going to do it. I'm -- since I've had home, little feet and laughter. And my husband. I dot know H I'm going to do it. Reporter: For "Nie," I'm mcusoore inson,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"8:11","description":"On July 19, the Missouri duck boat capsized and sank in about 80 feet of water in Table Rock Lake, near Branson, Missouri.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Nightline","id":"56802627","title":"The search for answers into duck boat tragedy that killed 17 tourists","url":"/Nightline/video/search-answers-duck-boat-tragedy-killed-17-tourists-56802627"}