Duck boat salvage operations complete, safety zone no longer in effect

The Coast Guard oversees the removal of Stretch Duck 7 from Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, July 23, 2018. Missouri State Highway Patrol divers rigged the vessel, then a barge crane lifted it to the surface before it was towed to shore and loaded onto a flatbed trailer for transport to a secure facility. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff

The Coast Guard oversees the removal of Stretch Duck 7 from Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, July 23, 2018.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff

BRANSON, Missouri – Salvage operations to remove Stretch Duck 7 from Table Rock Lake in Branson were completed Monday.

Salvage operations, coordinated by Ride the Ducks and overseen by the Coast Guard, successfully removed the sunken duck boat that was located off the stern of the Showboat Branson Belle Monday morning.

Ride the Ducks contracted Fitzco Marine Group to complete salvage operations, and a total of nine Missouri State Highway Patrol divers completed the diving portion of the salvage over the course of several days.

After the vessel was removed from the water, it was placed onto a flatbed trailer and will be taken under law enforcement escort to a secure location where the National Transportation Safety Board will take custody of it.

The Coast Guard safety zone that was previously in place around Showboat Branson Belle is no longer in effect.

“The outpouring of support by the City of Branson and members of this community is truly heartwarming and speaks to the character of Branson,” said Capt. Scott Stoermer, commander of Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River. “We are extremely grateful to Showboat Branson Belle and their employees for graciously allowing us to use their facilities as our base of operations over the past few days. The tremendous cooperation and professionalism from everyone involved, especially the Missouri State Highway Patrol, allowed us to quickly and safely complete salvage operations so we may continue to focus on investigations and understanding all the factors that led to this tragedy.”

Coast Guard and NTSB investigations into the circumstances surrounding the sinking of Stretch Duck 7 continue.

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