Ripley couple witnesses duck boat sink, bringing back painful memories

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RIPLEY, Tenn. — A Ripley couple is still recovering from what the husband and wife witnessed during their vacation to Branson, Missouri Thursday night.

“This was our last night there, our last show to have," Douglas Matthews said.

Matthews said he and his wife Connie were set to finish out their trip with a dinner showboat cruise, but that never happened.

They say they were waiting for their showboat on Table Rock Lake when a storm hit suddenly.

“It was a little overcast but the wind was calm, the lake was calm. It was not rough at all and then the storm blew in,” he said.

Terrifying video captured by people in the area showed one of the duck boats seconds before it went under.

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"When I saw it I think, ‘Oh my gosh. How many are going to perish?’ I was standing there, the captain was beside me. All the sudden he’s saying, “Oh my gosh!” And off he took," Matthews said.

Authorities say 17 people died and more were rescued in the 65-mile-per-hour winds.

Matthews shot cell phone video showing people floating in the water waiting for help.

He could only think of the eerie similarity between this and a 1999 accident in Hot Spring, Arkansas.

“Oh my god. 19 years ago my sister was in a duck in Arkansas and it sank and she died. Oh my gosh. It’s happening again,” he said.

He said he stopped riding duck boats when his sister died and he doesn't think they're safe for anyone.

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