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SUNKEN DUCK BOAT RETRIEVED FROM BOTTOM OF MISSOURI LAKE

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The doomed duck boat that sank in the middle of a storm on Thursday, killing 17, was raised from the depths of a Missouri lake Monday, as authorities hope to learn more about why the vessel foundered.

During the retrieval efforts, which began around 9 a.m. local time, divers connected the Ride the Ducks boat to a crane that dragged the vessel from its resting place 80 feet deep in Table Rock Lake. The boat will be taken to a secure location for officials to study it after the deadly incident, the Coast Guard said in an earlier news release.

The boat, with 31 people aboard, sank Thursday evening after leaving for a junket on the lake, near the tourist town of Branson that was hit by a thunderstorm generating near hurricane-force winds. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there were recorded anemometer readings of 73 mph and wave heights of around four feet, with possible six-foot crests.

Nine people from one family died in the accident. The other tourists onboard were from Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois. All of those hospitalized had been released by Monday morning.

Cellphone video from a witness showed the duck boat taking on water and struggling to move before sinking. Divers also recovered a video-recording device from the boat, but it’s unclear whether it captured the accident – or even if the footage can be retrieved.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the boat was built in 1944 and had passed an inspection in February. But mechanical inspector Steven Paul said the boat would have been heavily modified to make it longer, so that only part of it dated to World War II.

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