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    A duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, killed 17 people Thursday night, including the boat’s driver and nine members of an Indiana family, according to authorities. Fourteen other people were injured. >> Read more trending news  Update 12:50 p.m. EDT July 22: The 17 people killed in the duck boat accident have all been identified, according to The Associated Press. They are: Indiana family members 45-year-old Angela Coleman, 1-year-old Arya Coleman, 69-year-old Belinda Coleman, 76-year-old Ervin Coleman, 7-year-old Evan Coleman, 40-year-old Glenn Coleman, 70-year-old Horace Coleman, 2-year-old Maxwell Coleman, and 9-year-old Reece Coleman. Missouri natives 69-year-old William Asher, 68-year-old Rosemarie Hamann, 63-year-old Janice Bright, 65-year-old William Bright, and 73-year-old Bob Williams. Arkansas natives 53-year-old Steve Smith and 15-year-old Lance Smith. Illinois native Leslie Dennison, 64. Update 8:45 a.m. EDT July 21: The Stone County coroner confirmed to KSDK that William Asher, 69, and his girlfriend, Rose Hamann, were among those killed in Thursday night's duck boat accident in Missouri. The news station reported that the couple lived in St. Louis County, Missouri. They were visiting Branson to celebrate Hamann’s birthday, which was on Monday, according KSDK. Todd Dennison’s mother, 64-year-old Leslie Dennison, was also killed in the boat accident, the Kansas City Star reported. In an emotional and brief interview Friday, Todd Dennison told the newspaper that his mother was visiting Branson with his 12-year-old daughter, Alicia, and that they were together for less than an hour before they boarded the duck boat. He told the Star that while in the hospital on Thursday night, his daughter told him that she could feel her grandmother pushing her upward from below while the boat was sinking.“She said her grandmother saved her,” Todd Dennison told the Star. Update 1:30 a.m. EDT July 21: Authorities have identified more victims in the duck boat accident. Steve Smith and his teenage son, Lance Smith, from Osceola, Arkansas, were among those killed in the crash. Steve Smith was a pastor and Lance Smith was preparing to open his own church in less than a week, according to CNN, first reported by The Christian Chronicle.  Steve Smith’s daughter, Loren Smith, suffered a concussion during the accident but survived. Smith’s wife, Pam Smith, opted to stay behind and was not on the boat. William and Janice Bright from Higginsville, Missouri, near Kansas City, were also identified as victims in the crash. WDAF reports that the couple had three children, 16 grandchildren and had been married for 45 years. “My great nieces and nephews now have no grandparents,” Karen Abbott, William Bright’s sister, told WDAF. Update 11:00 p.m. EDT July 20: A summer vacation ended in tragedy for nine members of an Indiana family, along with eight other tourists, killed when a duck boat capsized Thursday evening on a lake in Branson, Missouri. The Coleman family had traveled to Branson for their annual road trip, according to The New York Times, which interviewed Carolyn Coleman. Coleman said she lost two of her brothers-in-law and that three generations of the family died in the accident, including four young children, the Times reported. “We just lost some wonderful people,” she said. The Indianapolis Star reported that the four children killed in the accident were all under the age of 10. 'They were very loved,' Ingrid Coleman Douglas said in a telephone interview with the Star. Coleman Douglas said the victims included two of her uncles, cousins and their children. 'It’s a huge family on all sides. It’s unimaginable. I would never have thought I would have lost this number of people this way,' she said. Coleman Douglas identified the victims as her uncles Horace 'Butch' Coleman and Irving Raymond Coleman; Horace Coleman's wife, Belinda Coleman; her cousins, Angela Coleman and Glenn Coleman; Angela's 2-year-old son Maxwell; Glenn's two sons Evan and Reece; and his 1-year-old daughter, Arya. Glenn's wife, Tia Coleman, and Angela's older son, whose name has not been released, survived the accident, the Star reported. Update 5:15 p.m. EDT July 20: Stone County authorities now say all 17 of the victims in the duck boat accident have been accounted for and that nine of the victims were from the same family, according to Gov. Mike Parson’s office. Two members of the family, identified by local news outlets as the Coleman family, survived. Officials said the victims range in age from 1 to 70 years old. Meantime, mourners are putting flowers on the victims’ cars in the Ride the Ducks parking lot, and the community of Branson, Missouri, is holding several candlelight vigils Friday night in memory of those killed.  One of the vigils is scheduled at Table Rock Lake where the accident happened, according to KY3-TV. Update 4:30 p.m. EDT July 20: Family and friends are mourning the staggering loss of life on Table Rock Lake Thursday evening. One woman lost nine members of her family, USA Today reported, citing Gov. Mike Parson’s office. Update 2:20 p.m. EDT July 20: Branson Mayor Karen Best told The Associated Press that Bob Williams, the man who was driving the Ride the Ducks boat that sunk Thursday in a southwest Missouri lake, was a “great ambassador for Branson” who “was at every event.” Seventeen people died, including Williams, and 14 others were injured Thursday when the duck boat capsized in Table Rock Lake, according to authorities. Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said earlier Friday that the boat’s captain survived. In a statement posted on Facebook, employees of Ride the Ducks Branson said the business would be closed “while we support the investigation, and to allow time to grieve for the families and the community.” “This incident has deeply affected all of us. Words cannot convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking,” the statement said. “Thank you for your support, and we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with the families during this time.” Update 11:40 a.m. EDT July 20: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said Friday morning that authorities recovered four more bodies after a duck boat capsized in southwest Missouri, KSMU reported, bringing the death toll from Thursday’s incident to 17. Rader said 14 people were taken to hospitals after the incident. He said the driver of the Ride the Ducks boat died. The captain survived. Update 11:20 a.m. EDT July 20: Nearly two decades ago, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a warning about boats with overhead canopies like the one that sank Thursday on Table Rock Lake after a deadly accident claimed 13 lives in Arkansas, according to the Kansas City Star. The Miss Majestic duck boat was carrying 21 passengers when it sank in 1999 in Lake Hamilton, the Star reported. Authorities found seven dead passengers trapped inside the boat when they recovered it, four of which were pinned to the underside of the canopy, according to the Star. “Contributing to the high loss of life was a continuous canopy roof that entrapped passengers within the sinking vehicle,” NTSB officials said in an accident report. Authorities continued searching Friday for four people who are presumed dead after Thursday’s accident in southwest Missouri. Officials said 13 other people have been confirmed dead in the incident. Update 10:25 a.m. EDT July 20: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said divers are going back in the water Friday in search of four people who remain missing and are presumed dead after Thursday’s duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake. Rader said the search had shifted to “recovery mode for the bodies that are still missing,” at a news conference Friday morning. 'It's been a long night,” Rader said. “It's been a very trying night.” Rader said the driver of the Ride the Ducks boat died but that the captain survived. Update 10:05 a.m. EDT July 20: Authorities are expected to provide an update on the investigation into Thursday's deadly duck boat accident in Missouri at a news conference Friday. Update 9:55 a.m. EDT July 20: President Donald Trump shared sympathies Friday to the families and friends of the people involved in Thursday’s deadly duck boat accident in southwest Missouri. “Such a tragedy, such a great loss,” the president wrote Friday in a tweet. “May God be with you all!” Update 8:15 a.m. EDT July 20: Officials with the State Highway Patrol said Friday that two more bodies have been found after Thursday’s duck boat accident in southwest Missouri, bringing the death toll to 13.  >> On AJC.com: Bahamas boating tragedy brings vacation safety to the forefront State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace said four other people remained missing. Original report: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said 14 people were taken to hospitals after the incident. Seven were being treated early Friday, he said. The boat capsized after a strong line of thunderstorms moved through the area around 7 p.m. Thursday. Rader said weather “was a factor” in the incident. Authorities said the boat had 31 people on board, including children, when it capsized.  The boat had life jackets on board, according to CNN. The news network reported that other boats on the water docked before the bad weather hit. The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team to investigate and are asking anyone who witnessed the accident to come forward. A dive team and rescue officials worked through the night to find survivors. They ended the search around 11 p.m., according to KY3. Emergency responders set up a staging area overnight on the lakeshore near the Showboat Branson Belle, local media reported, although the Belle was not involved in the accident. Branson officials opened an emergency shelter inside city hall for the victims. National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Linderberg said a top wind speed of 63 mph was measured around 7 p.m. Thursday at Branson Airport.  “There’s nothing to slow down winds in an open area,” he said. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is watching the developments. DUKW, known as duck boats, are six-wheel-drive amphibious vehicles that were used by the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War.  Since then, duck boat tours have become popular and are offered on lakes and rivers around the United States, including Missouri, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Alabama. Ripley Entertainment acquired the Ride The Ducks in Branson in late 2017 from Ride the Ducks International, a subsidiary of Norcross, Georgia-based Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. Ride the Ducks International manufactures amphibious vehicles and licenses them for tours at affiliates. It also operates duck tours at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. The company formerly operated tours in several other cities, including Baltimore, San Francisco and Philadelphia. But in recent years it ended operations following deadly accidents.  In 2015, a Ride the Ducks tour bus collided with a charter bus carrying student on the Aurora bridge in Seattle. Five students were killed and several others injured. The Associated Press and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.
  • An 87-year-old Cumming man was killed Thursday in a head-on collision in Forsyth County when another vehicle crossed over into his travel lane, authorities said. Connie Mack Lathem was in the passenger seat of a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, traveling east on Canton Highway, when the car collided with a 2002 Lexus sedan. Deputies and fire officials responded to the crash site about noon.Forsyth County deputies believe the Lexus crossed over a painted yellow median near Carla Drive and hit the Chevrolet, sheriff’s spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater said after a preliminary investigation. The driver of the Chevrolet, 74-year-old Bunia Lathem, was seriously injured in the crash, but her injuries are not considered life-threatening. She is being treated at an area hospital. Her husband, Connie Mack Lathem, was rushed to North Fulton Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The driver of the Lexus was also seriously injured. Brandon Schneider, 26, is being treated at an area hospital and is expected to recover. Traffic investigators are still looking into the cause of the crash. “Charges pending the outcome of the investigation,” Rainwater said. Return to AJC.com for updates.
  • Moreland Avenue south of I-20 was shut down for several hours Thursday morning while police investigated a deadly motorcycle crash. The investigation closed all but one southbound lane between I-20 and Glenwood Avenue while emergecy crews were on scene, the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center reported. Atlanta police said a motorcyclist was killed in a collision with a car about 6:15 a.m. near the entrance to McDonald’s in the 400 block of Moreland Avenue. “It appears that the driver of the car turned left into the motorcyclist, causing the accident,” police spokesman Officer Jarius Daugherty told AJC.com. The motorcyclist died of his injuries, police confirmed. The man is not being named until his family is notified of his death. “The driver of the car is cooperating with investigators and Atlanta police are currently working to determine whether charges will be filed,” Daugherty said. —Please return to AJC.com for updates.  » For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow  @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter. In other news: 
  • Police are searching for a recent University of Georgia graduate who hasn’t been seen since he finished his shift at a Gwinnett County Publix pharmacy. Alvin Ahmed went missing Monday night after working his shift at a Publix pharmacy on U.S. 78 in Loganville, according to a Facebook post from older brother Kalvin Ahmed. Loganville police are leading the search. On Wednesday, a man’s body was pulled from Lake Carlton two miles away from the grocery store. Decomposition has made identification difficult, but authorities are looking into any connection with the missing person case.  “On the surface, it seems like it could be the same person,” Gwinnett police Sgt. Jake Smith said during a Thursday morning briefing outside at Lake Carlton. “We don’t have anything to actually tie those two cases together.”  The autopsy Thursday afternoon was not able to immediately identify the body, Smith said in a news release. Further tests are being completed, but the results will not be available Thursday, he said. UPDATE: Police say body found in Gwinnett lake could be missing UGA grad   Ahmed’s family is holding out hope they will find the man unharmed. They believe he was abducted. Ahmed planned to come home after his shift ended at 9:15 p.m., but his car was found unlocked in the Publix parking lot, his brother said on Facebook. It appeared that someone went through the car’s glove box, and groceries and his pharmacist coat were left in the car. Surveillance video within the Publix, which was obtained by Channel 2 Action News, shows Alvin leaving in his pharmacist coat and carrying groceries.  There are no cameras in the store’s parking lot, the post said. “Alvin was forcibly taken away,” the post said. “After speaking with his best friends and coworkers, he had no other plans but to be home. That’s the last thing he told me and our mom.” Channel 2 spoke with Kalvin Ahmed in the Publix parking lot, where he was handing out missing person flyers Wednesday. “He graduated early from UGA, went to pharmacy school, and he studied for his exams,” he told Channel 2. “There was no reason for him to walk out.” Before 5 p.m. Monday, Alvin was allegedly approached by a group of young men walking down U.S. 78 who asked him about his Honda Civic and “how much you make,” Ahmed said on Facebook. He didn’t confront them, but he told his supervisors this is the first time this happened. “I’m hoping that it was just some random thing, that it was just kids being dumb and it’s unrelated. But people must’ve definitely seen them if this happened around 5 p.m. on 78, since the roads get busy then,” the post said. Ahmed was supposed to start as a full-time pharmacist next month, his brother said. To read more of the post, click here.   “I refuse to believe that someone who was just about to successfully start the life that he worked so hard for would have it ended like that,” Kalvin Ahmed said in a search update on Facebook. “So please keep Alvin in your prayers... and keep your eyes open.”
  • A gunman in an angry clown mask is on the run after shooting a customer early Tuesday at a northwest Atlanta Waffle House, police said. Officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the customer was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in stable condition after being shot in the neck.  The Waffle House is in the 1000 block of Northside Drive, a busy stretch near 14th Street that includes a row of restaurants. Police said a man in a black hooded sweatshirt was seen pacing the parking lot just before 6 a.m. He entered the restaurant and went straight for the bathroom. “When he came out, he had a (gold) mask on,” Atlanta police Capt. Andrew Senzer said. “He produced a gun and he essentially demanded the belongings of everybody of the store.” The masked man confronted a half dozen patrons and employees in the restaurant, though some of the customers did not comply with his demands. One robbery victim told The AJC he took the threat seriously and gave up his car keys and wallet. “I was really shocked,” Charles Fears said. “I gave my car up to him. I didn’t want to get shot.” Police said the man then grabbed the cash register and made his way out to the victim’s white Mercury Grand Marquis in the parking lot.  But one of the customers, who has not been identified, went to the window to watch the gunman’s escape, and the man turned around to fire one round.  “The one that got shot was arguing with the guy,” Fears said. “The guy was standing by the window and he shot through the glass.” Photos of the crime scene show shattered glass near the seating area. The Mercury was found abandoned on Georgia Tech’s campus a short time later. Investigators are hoping surveillance footage gives them a better idea of how the shooter looks. “We don’t have any further description at this time,” Senzer said. 
  • Howard Martin does not endorse the violence that erupted during a weekend basketball tournament in Bartow County and was captured in a now viral video. However, the video, which has been viewed more than 530,000 times since Sunday’s brawl at the LakePoint Sporting Facility in Emerson, doesn’t tell the whole story, he said. “It’s just disgusting to watch something boil to this point when we are trying to do something for kids,” said Martin, the coach of the Chicago R.A.W. Athletics team involved in the fight. In the clip, high school-aged players can be seen hitting a referee. Players and coaches told Channel 2 Action News the blows came toward the end of a semifinal game between R.A.W. Athletics and the Houston Raptors. RELATED: Players fight referees during basketball tournament in Georgia The referee handed out a technical foul before ejecting a R.A.W. Athletics player.  “One of my players, he had words with the referee,” Martin said. “I think he was complaining about a call or something.” Several people, including the coach of the opposing team, saw the player and the official collide. Houston Raptors coach Bobby Benjamin described it to the news station as “a shoulder bump.” “The player was walking back toward the bench, the referee pushed the player, and they squared up,” Martin said. What happened next can be seen in the video. Players and several referees exchange blows, with one referee ending up on the floor, shirtless, with several players on top of him. Martin thinks the referee should have used better judgment rather than escalate the situation by fighting back. “I’m not condoning anything that happened, anything my players did,” Martin said. “But at the end of the day, as a man, you've got to be a little bit wiser.” R.A.W. Athletics was thrown out of the tournament, Channel 2 reported. The opposing team advanced to the championship game and lost. The athletic center that hosted the tournament said on Twitter it would be “taking the appropriate action with authorities.”  “At this time no individual has made a report of the incident,” Emerson police Chief Kyle Teems told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “However, after seeing the incident on social media, we, along with LakePoint Security, are looking into the incident.” Contrary to media reports, the tournament was not an Amateur Athletic Union event, according to the organization. “The incident at the non-AAU basketball event in Georgia is unfortunate,” Dr. Roger J. Goudy, the organization’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “The AAU organization takes the safety and well-being of our athletes, coaches and officials very seriously. Any such behavior is never tolerated at licensed AAU events and, for those groups who fraudulently represent themselves as AAU, we will pursue all legal remedies.” This is the second brawl involving a youth basketball game in Georgia in recent weeks. A 13-year-old Cobb County girl suffered a concussion during a fight at a June 24 summer league game in south Fulton County. RELATED: Texas coach: Account of brawl at girls game ‘totally false’ MORE: Brawl at girls basketball game leaves 13-year-old from Cobb with concussion
  • Two dozen residents were displaced Monday morning when a fire ripped through several DeKalb County condos and forced two men to jump from their second-floor window. No one was injured, thanks to those two men, who alerted their neighbors to the blaze, officials said. The fire broke out about 6 a.m. at the Le Parc Fontaine Condominums off Fairington and Panola roads, DeKalb deputy chief Shane Dobson said.  “We had heavy fire involvement,” he said. “(It) looked like it was coming from the second floor.” Shaquan Alston, one of the men who jumped, was one of responding firefighters’ first points of contact on scene, telling them which units still had residents inside. “I smelled the smell of fire so I immediately hopped up, looked out my window and saw a lot of smoke,” he said.  Alston woke up his roommate, Trenton Wyatt, to get out of the building, but the exit through their front door to an interior hallway was blocked with heavy black smoke. So Wyatt suggested they jump out the window. “We’ve got to get out of here,” Alston said. “That was our thinking. I’m not going to die today.” Alston and Wyatt then went around knocking on windows to wake up their neighbors and alert them to the danger. Firefighters helped several residents and one dog evacuate the burning building.  “We did have trapped residents at the time,” Dobson said. “They were able to get all residents out of the structure safely.” The Red Cross is assisting 25 people displaced from their homes. According to officials, the fire damaged 16 units in two buildings. Six of those units were occupied. “I’m still in shock,” Alston said. “You don’t expect something like this to happen while you're in the middle of your sleep... to know that we got everybody up and out of there safely, it really feels good. We just felt like we were doing the right thing.” He said despite all they lost in the fire, it is a blessing everyone walked away with their lives.  “We’re very proud of him,” Dobson said. “... His efforts are truly appreciated.”  The cause of the fire is still under investigation. RELATED: 60 displaced in DeKalb apartment fire —Please return to AJC.com for updates. 
  • For hours Monday morning, I-75 North was shut down between Kennesaw and Acworth after a tractor-trailer loaded with scrap metal went through an interstate sound wall and burst into flames. The crash was finally moved to the right shoulder around 10:30 a.m. after five hours of road closures. Just before 5:30 a.m., the truck was traveling northbound near Wade Green and Hickory Grove roads “when the driver presumably fell asleep,” Cobb County police spokeswoman Officer Sarah O’Hara said in a statement. The tractor-trailer drifted off the road and hit a series of concrete and metal barriers before plowing through an interstate guard rail, she said. The truck hit a drainage ditch, rolled over and caught fire, igniting a nearby sound barrier wall. The driver, 38-year-old John Thurston of Millen, was ejected from the vehicle and was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, O’Hara said. His injuries are not considered life-threatening. Chopper footage showed the truck on its side for much of the morning and heavy damage to the sound barrier. Officials got the truck upright just after 10:30 a.m. The crash is still under investigation with the Cobb County special traffic unit. Anyone with information should contact the unit at 770-499-3987.
  • DeKalb County officials are investigating a deadly house fire on Covington Highway. When firefighters arrived at a home in the 7300 block around 4 a.m. Thursday, about 70 percent of the residence was fully involved in flames, a DeKalb fire official said. A 42-year-old man was found dead in a second-floor bedroom. He was identified Friday by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s office as Adelfo Jimenez of Lithonia. Four other family members were able to escape. A man in his 20s was taken to a local hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, fire Capt. Dion Bentley said. The rest were checked out by medics at the scene for possible smoke inhalation, according to Bentley. It appears the fire started on the left side of the split-level home, near the living areas, investigators said. The layout of the house made it difficult for firefighters to make their way inside. “We made entry through the front door,” Bentley said. “The flames were too heavy, we had to back out and go defensive for a few ... because of where the stairs were located inside of the house, there was no way to make entry up the stairs.” They ended up using a ladder to get to the second floor, where they found the man in a back bedroom. “At this time, the cause of the fire is still under investigation,” Bentley said. Covington Highway between Main Street and Lithonia Industrial Boulevard was shut down while fire crews and investigators were on the scene, Channel 2 Action News reported.  In other news:
  • The body of a Valdosta State University student was recovered from the Mississippi River Sunday, days after friends saw the man fall into the river after a concert. Pace Ervin Taylor, 19, was walking along the river near Memphis Friday night when he slipped and fell in, the Valdosta Daily Times reported. The Tallahassee, Fla., native was a rising sophomore and a member of the Mu Nu Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc., VSU said in a statement obtained by the newspaper. Taylor was with friends at a Widespread Panic concert on the Mud Island peninsula when he jumped a concrete barrier wall and made his way to the river bank, Memphis police said.  Police announced Sunday afternoon that a body was recovered from the river. Taylor’s mother confirmed to local ABC affiliate WATN-TV that it was her son.  Taylor’s friends said they were leaving the concert when Taylor made a joke about jumping in the river because it was so hot, the Daily Times reported. His friends tried to help him, but the current was too strong and he was swept away.  The family will have a service for him Friday, according to the newspaper. 'The death of a student affects the entire VSU community, and every member of our Blazer Nation family sends the deepest expressions of sympathy to Pace’s family and friends as they process this devastating loss,' a spokesman for the university said in the statement. Read more of the story here.