Just a quick note to offer a huge thank you for the presentation of a Presidents Award plaque recognizing the Branson Fire Department’s “Commitment, Devotion, and Dedication to our Community during the Mass Casualty Incident on Table Rock Lake.”
Ride the Ducks starts from an established location in our community and journeys through Taney and Stone Counties, including a mountain-top view of and a water-based tour of Table Rock Lake. Ride the Ducks tours the famous Highway 76, providing guests an insightful journey across the scenic area.
Tragedy struck on the evening of July 19, 2018, when a Ride the Duck vessel sank quickly after becoming caught in a severe thunderstorm during the lake portion of the tour. Emergency Responders serving the Southern Stone County and Western Taney County Fire Protection Districts, Mercy Paramedics, Taney County Ambulance District, Stone and Taney County Sheriff’s Departments, and so many more responded to this incident that claimed the lives of 17 guests.
Our fire department served in a support role immediately following the incident establishing a Family Support Center at Branson City Hall where we kept the survivors and their families accounted for, informed and to provide chaplain support. We also opened our Emergency Operations Center at Fire Station 1 to support the investigation as members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Coast Guard, and National Transportations Safety Board worked the incident to determine what occurred and how it might be prevented from happening in the future.
We continue to pray for the victims and their families affected by this tragedy, but also all of the responders, many of them community volunteers in the fire service, who worked this incident. Thankful for their commitment to the community, their dedication to training, and the positive impact they make each day as public servants.
Again, thank you for recognizing our fire department and our neighboring fire districts!