Coast Guard Petty Officer Lora Ratliff says the Coast Guard will be in charge of the Branson Duck boat investigation as the Coast Guard is in charge of all investigations on USA waterways. The captain survived, authorities said.
"I said, 'Lord just let me die, let me die, I can't keep drowning", survivor Tia Coleman said.
Authorities have not yet identified the victims. The previous deadliest accident was in 1999 when 13 people died when a duck boat sank in Arkansas.
General Motors developed the DUKW in 1942 to get supplies and reinforcements to World War II troops, and the amphibious vehicles became known as "ducks".
Early Saturday, the Stone County Sheriff's Office confirmed to AFP the identity of the 17 victims - nine of whom had the name, Coleman.
There are roughly 22 of the boats operating in the state, said Lt. Tasha Sadowicz, spokeswoman for the Coast Guard's regional office in St. Louis.
At the time, he said, the water seemed calm, and no one was anxious about the weather.
Officials did not comment on the identities or ages of the other people who drowned.
Ingrid Coleman Douglas said she had lost her her two uncles, aunt, cousins and their children.
"They are doing what would be expected and still grappling with all the facts and parameters", Rose said.
Two tourists died in Philadelphia in 2010 when the duck boat they were riding in was struck by a tugboat in the Delaware River. It appeared there were life jackets on board, Rader said, but it was not yet clear how many people were wearing them.
"They are risky on land and on water. That is terror, agony, torture and finally death", said Karen Koehler, a Seattle attorney representing victims in a 2015 duck boat collision with a bus that killed five college students.
Safety advocates have sought improvements to the boats since the Arkansas incident.
In 2002 the agency recommended that amphibious vehicles provide "reserve buoyancy" such as through watertight compartmentalization, to keep them afloat in the event of flooding.
Officials would later say the second duck boat dangerously churned up and down through the waves but made it to shore. Both were desperately trying to make it back to shore.
Divers quickly located the vessel, which came to rest on its wheels on the lakebed, and authorities planned to recover it later Friday.
Stone County sheriff Doug Rader said the boat had sunk in 40ft (12m) of water, and then rolled into 80ft of water.
Ride the Ducks is a national duck tour operator with locations across the United States, and the Branson operation was purchased a year ago by Ripley Entertainment, according to Suzanne Smagala-Potts, a spokeswoman for Ripley. Eventually, the boats pull up to the lake and slowly enter the water with a small splash.
After a few minutes on the water, the vehicles return to land and to their home base, which features a store selling candy and souvenirs.
President Trump and the First Lady "extend their deepest sympathies to all those affected by yesterday's boating accident on Table Rock Lake", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday.