Two from south county among victims of duck boat sinking on Table Rock Lake

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A south county couple was among the 17 people who died when a duck boat sank on Table Rock Lake in Branson Thursday night.

Affton residents William Asher, 69, and Rosemarie “Rose” Hamann, 68, died when a boat from the popular Ride the Ducks attraction in Branson capsized.

The amphibious boat, which can also drive on land, couldn’t stand up to heavy winds and waves on the lake and capsized with 31 people on board. Victims range in age from one to 76 including nine members of one family from Indiana.

Hamann just celebrated her birthday Monday, according to the last post on her Facebook page. She frequently posted photos of herself and Asher together.

“Bill wishing me a happy birthday,” she wrote in her last public post.

Gov. Mike Parson went to Branson Friday to meet with Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader and first responders who were recovering bodies from the popular tourist lake, along with some of the families of victims.

“What happened here last night was a heart-breaking tragedy, and we must all work together to support the victims and their families,” Parson said in a statement. “The courageous efforts of emergency responders and civilian rescuers helped avert an even worse tragedy, as people rushed to help in extremely dangerous conditions. I was inspired by the stories I heard from some of those who were part of the rescue effort and tremendously encouraged by the strength of the family members of victims I met with today. We pray for all those who were affected by this terrible tragedy.”

Of the 14 survivors, seven were injured, one seriously. A nine-person dive crew from the Missouri State Highway Patrol worked through the night and into Friday to recover the remaining four bodies from the water to bring the total of fatalities up to 17. The MSHP divers were among several dive teams that all worked eto recover victims. Many of the victims were out-of-state visitors to the Branson area.

The investigation into the boat sinking is being led by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard. Parson pledged the support of all state resources necessary to assist with the investigation.

On Friday, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Critical Incident Stress Management team deployed to Branson to assist State Parks concessionaire staff and visitors who helped in search and rescue efforts Thursday. The concessionaire staff and visitors helped rescue two of the survivors and recovered the bodies of three victims immediately after the boat sank.  

Other state resources that have responded to assist include the Department of Conservation and DNR State Parks rangers, the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Department of Mental Health and the State Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Mortuary Assistance Team.

Other agencies that have played critical parts in response and recovery efforts include the Stone County Sheriff’s Department, Taney County Sheriff’s Department, Christian County Sheriff’s Department, Branson Police Department, Branson Fire Department, Southern Stone County Fire, Western Taney County Fire, Taney County Ambulance District and Mercy Ambulance.