Diver Reacts After 17 Die in Duck Boat Tragedy - FOX 5 KRBK is Springfield MO source for News and Weather

Diver Reacts After 17 Die in Duck Boat Tragedy

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Jefferson City, Mo. - As the investigation into the deadly duck boat continues, a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol's dive team is speaking out for the first time.

 It's been nearly a week since the recovery operation at Table Rock Lake when a duck boat sank. 

"When the call came out; as soon as I saw the email it’s not good and we didn’t know about the fatalities we we’re just hoping and praying that they made it out and everything was okay," explains Lt. Mike Petlansky, Dive Team Coordinator, Missouri State Highway Patrol. 

However the high winds and waves capsized the boat Thursday evening, killing 17 people.

"We just needed to get down there as soon as possible and begin our operations."

When the unfortunate circumstances result in a recovery operation, Lt. Petlansky and his team respond with the intent to rescue and resuscitate the victims. 

"When you become a highway patrol diver you know what’s expected of you. You’re going to have a high probability of dealing with these situations unfortunately but we just stay on task."

Petlansky says search and rescue efforts turned into a recovery operation for his team as divers searched for missing victims.

"When disaster strikes it’s the people of Missouri coming together to do what needs to get done safely and properly."

Recovery efforts concluded Friday morning when the bodies of the remaining four missing people were recovered. 

"We determined the best course of action would be to locate the duck underwater and from there see if we can pick up any imaging, dive on the duck, and see if there’s any victims in the duck."

Those who do this type of diving share a concern for humankind. they possess valor and bravery and they risk their lives to give families resolve after tragedies. 

"It’s a calling. We’re all in it together, the entire team is dedicated to that. We’re just so sorry this happens,but if we can bring a little relief in bringing the victims back to their families that’s what it’s for."

The NTSB and the Coast Guard continue to investigate  which could take up to a year to complete. 

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