Branson residents, visitors pause to remember those lost in duck boat tragedy

BRANSON, Mo. -- By Monday, the Ride the Ducks boat will be in the hands of the National Transportation Safety Board after it's pulled from the lake. But Sunday's focus was on the victims and their families.

Mourners filled the chapel at the College of the Ozarks to remember the 17 people killed Thursday night when their boat took on too much water and sank.

"It's the type of thing only your faith will get you through," said Jerry Davis, president of College of the Ozarks.

Davis also said several former students from the college were on hand after the duck boat, carrying 31 people, sank during an intense thunderstorm.

"We had a student who is an ICU nurse. She had gone to nursing school here. EMTs, the fire department. Any tragedy of a significant size would touch the college in one way or another," he said.

Across town, outside the Ride the Ducks Branson ticket office, a parade of cars came by as people stopped by to pay their respects at a growing memorial for the victims. Cindy Hall was there with her daughter.

"I feel like we need to do something, and this is the only thing I feel like I can do for them." Hall said.

She's still trying to make sense as to why the boat was on the water to begin with.

"When they give warnings, the warnings need to be taken seriously." Hall said.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area about 30 minutes before the boat sank.

Nicole Hendricks and her family were planning to ride the ducks during their vacation.

"We were going to do it tomorrow, on Monday."  Hendricks said.

Instead the family from Memphis took a moment to reflect and pray, sharing these words of encouragement to the victim's families.

"Know that you are not alone. You're experiencing this with the world. We send out condolences, and we love you." Hendricks shared.

The investigation into the cause of the crash continues Monday morning.

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