Hurricane-force winds are thought to begin at about 75 miles per hour, said Weener, who also estimated waves rose to around 4 feet, with a possibility of 6-foot crests.
"I said, 'Lord, please, I've gotta get to my babies".
"The Missouri State Highway Patrol is conducting a broader investigation into the circumstances that led to this tragedy beforehand and whether or not this should be treated as a crime scene", Hawley said.
Passengers on a nearby boat described the chaos as the winds picked up and the water became rough.
"God must have something for me because there's no way I should be here". She and her nephew survived.
Retrieval efforts began around 9 a.m
Three of Coleman's children and her husband were among the dead.
The salvage plan includes bringing Stretch Duck 7 to the surface, taking it to shore and transporting it to a secure facility for further inspection and investigation, where the National Transportation Safety Board will maintain custody of it.
When swells crashed into the boat, they were told to stay seated, she said.
Branson Mayor Karen Best spoke on behalf of the 17 who died, 14 others who survived and "the many heroes who did everything in their power to save lives".
Divers have recovered a video-recording device that was aboard the boat, although it's unclear whether it was working when the boat capsized or whether any data can be retrieved, including audio. It will be sent to the NTSB lab in Washington DC.
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Paul, a mechanical inspector, saw a glaring problem when he examined the duck boat. He noted they were originally created to assault beaches in World War II. He has not yet been interviewed by investigators from the NTSB, said Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the federal agency, although other Ride the Ducks staff have.
"The industry has known for decades of the dangers posed by these vehicles, and by these vessels on the water with the canopies which trap people and drag them down", attorney Jeffrey Goodman said.
"We think it will show what the actions were of the captain, what he tried to do to maneuver the vessel, as well as any instructions he might have given to the passengers", NTSB board member Earl Weener told ABC News. But he questioned why passengers were not wearing life jackets.
The Ride the Ducks Branson tour company has halted its tours, posting on its website, "We remain deeply saddened by the tragic accident".
Turbulent weather has caused trouble for duck boats before. "We will continue to do all we can to assist the families who were involved and the authorities as they continue with the search and rescue". "Thank you for your support, and we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with the families during this time".
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Tia Coleman, a passenger on the boat who was sitting near the front, told reporters Saturday that passengers were told a storm was coming before going out on the water.
She told CNN affiliate KOLR: "When that boat is found, all those life jackets are going to be on there because nobody pulled one off".
The NTSB, which makes non-binding safety recommendations, has urged the removal of canopies from the vehicles to reduce the risk of drowning. The accident prompted the state Legislature in MA to pass a law that now prohibits duck boat drivers from simultaneously serving as narrator and tour guide.
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