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9 members of one family among 17 killed in duck boat accident on lake in Branson, Missouri 

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 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.

Margaret Thatcher's spouse not happy about McCartney invite

Most hosts would be quite happy to have Paul McCartney come to a shindig. But that wasn't the case with Denis Thatcher in 1988 when planning a gala reception at 10 Downing Street.

Newly released papers show that the late husband of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put a question mark next to the former Beatle's name on a proposed guest list he was reviewing.

The papers, released Saturday, show Denis Thatcher putting check marks next to the guests he approved and question marks next to those he was less comfortable with.

The papers didn't offer an explanation of why he questioned the Beatle. In a note, he wrote that he didn't mind inviting guests who didn't back the prime minister but questioned inviting those who had criticized his wife in public.

"Whilst I accept of course that not everyone who comes to our receptions are necessarily on 'our' side I find it both unpleasant and embarrassing to entertain those who publicly insult the PM," he said.

The documents show he also questioned the inclusion of naturalist David Attenborough, track star Sebastian Coe, and singer Shirley Bassey, best known for the "Goldfinger" title track.

He had no problem with other prominent figures, including composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber and actress Judi Dench. It also showed he approved the inclusion of Rolf Harris, a popular TV entertainer who decades later was convicted of sexually abusing young girls.

The newly released papers also show that Margaret Thatcher loaned her teddy bear to the Teddy Bear Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1988 so that it could be put on display.

The Margaret Thatcher Foundation is gradually releasing her private files. The public will be able to view much of the archive starting on Monday at www.margaretthatcher.org.

Millions fall for South Carolina dentist in viral ‘In My Fillings’ dance video

A dentist in Greenville, South Carolina, is inspiring millions to get their teeth cleaned after taking on the Drake-inspired “In My Feelings” dance challenge.

Dr. Rich Constantine’s version of the “shiggy” -- a dance inspired by the rapper -- has over 24 million views on Facebook.

>> Read more trending news 

Over 100,000 people have commented on the video since it was posted Thursday.

>>Related: Watch: Will Smith, Ciara join ‘In My Feelings’ challenge dance-off in epic fashion

“I have 12 wisdom teeth that need to be pulled, and I think my baby teeth trying to come back, and I swear my k 9s have become L 2's ( whatever that might mean) I just need an appt immediately, yesterday, right now!” one user said.

“I just ordered a pound of gummy bears and washing it down with fruit punch,” another woman commented. “Cavity Watch 2018!! I never wanted one so bad!”

“I found myself looking for his wedding ring, then I remembered that I’m married,” another said.

For the record, Constantine is married, KSLA reports.

No winner in Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot; prize skyrockets to $493 million

No winners in Friday’s Mega Millions means the jackpot keeps rising -- Tuesday’s drawing has topped $493 million.

It’s possible that the prize could surge over the half-billion mark based on ticket sales, lottery officials state.

>> Read more trending news 

Tuesday’s jackpot of $493 million will be the fifth-largest in Mega Millions history.

If there is a winner and they choose the cash payout, they will take home $296 million.

Friday’s winning numbers were 44-14-30-62-1, with a Mega Ball of 1.

While no one took home the big prize, there were two $1 million ticket winners, in Illinois and Pennsylvania.

There were over 1.8 million winning tickets in Friday’s drawing at all levels, with 47 ticket winners of $10,000.

Tuesday night’s drawing will take place July 24 at 11 p.m. ET.

An excited, energetic Taylor Swift brings tour to MetLife

Taylor Swift brought her explosive Reputation Tour to the MetLife Stadium on Friday and will make history as the first female artist to play three consecutive shows at the venue when she performs Saturday and Sunday.

Swift was energetic and excited during her two-hour-plus show at the stadium, home to the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

She kicked the show in a glittery black number, changing outfits multiple times and performing across three stages at the venue holding 80,000 seats.

She sang a number of songs from her recent album, "reputation," including the hits "Gorgeous," ''Delicate," ''...Ready for It?" and "Look What You Made Me Do," which featured a large snake in the background.

"There's so many things you could be doing on your Friday night, so thank you for hanging out with us," Swift said to the feverish audience.

Ticket mix-up put family on ill-fated Missouri tourist boat

More than half of the 17 people killed when a tourist boat sank on a Branson lake were members of the same Indiana family, and they likely wouldn't have been on the ill-fated trip but for a ticket mix-up.

Tracy Beck, of Kansas City, Missouri, said she recalled the family members waiting in line. After they stopped for a picture, she said, a ticket taker realized they should have boarded at a different location and reassigned them.

The grief-stricken community, known for its country shows and entertainment, hosted two vigils Friday night. About 300 people gathered in the parking lot of Ride the Ducks of Branson and others mourned at a church, singing "Amazing Grace" at both locations.

At the rally at the duck boat business, the Rev. Zachary Klein said he had no words of comfort to offer the families of victims "because there simply are no words to comfort them."

Divers found the final four bodies Friday in Table Rock Lake near Branson after the deadliest accident of its kind in nearly two decades. State and federal investigators were trying to determine what went sent the vessel known as a duck boat to its demise. An initial assessment blamed thunderstorms and winds that approached hurricane strength, but it wasn't clear why the amphibious vehicle even ventured out into the water.

Mayor Karen Best said Branson is typically a city "full of smiles ... But today we are grieving and crying."

Officials haven't released names of the victims, but the sad details emerged throughout the day. Among them: A popular duck boat driver, a father and son visiting from Arkansas, and the nine Indiana relatives, many of them children.

The risk of heavy weather was apparent hours before the boat left shore.

The National Weather Service in Springfield, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Branson, issued a severe thunderstorm watch for its immediate area Thursday, saying conditions were ripe for winds of 70 mph. It followed up at 6:32 p.m. with a severe thunderstorm warning for three counties that included Branson and the lake. The warning mentioned both locations. The boat went down about 40 minutes later, shortly after 7 p.m.

"When we issue a warning, it means take action," meteorologist Kelsey Angle said.

A full investigation was underway, with help from the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board. Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader urged anyone with video or photos of the accident to contact authorities.

The agencies were briefing Missouri's two senators on the accident. Democrat Claire McCaskill said she would look into possible "legislative solutions," while Republican Roy Blunt called it a "tragedy that never should have happened."

Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities. She said this was the company's only accident in more than 40 years of operation.

Twenty-nine passengers and two crew members were aboard for a pleasure cruise. Seven of the 14 survivors were hurt when the vessel went down. At least two children and two adults were still hospitalized Friday afternoon. The captain survived, authorities said.

Among the injured was 14-year-old Loren Smith of Osceola, Arkansas. Her father, 53-year-old retired math teacher Steve, Smith, and her 15-year-old brother, Lance, died in the accident. Loren suffered a concussion but survived.

"It's a hard thing," Steve Smith's father, Carroll Smith, said of losing his only child and his only grandson. "It's a very difficult day."

Brayden Malaske, of Harrah, Oklahoma, boarded a replica 19th-century paddle-wheeler known as the Branson Belle on the same lake just before the storm hit.

At the time, he said, the water seemed calm, and no one was worried about the weather.

"But it suddenly got very dark," he recalled.

In a short video taken by Malaske from the deck of the Belle, the duck boat can be seen wallowing through the choppy, wind-whipped lake, with water only inches from its windows. Dark, rolling waves crash over its front end. The footage ends before the boat capsizes.

Later, people on Malaske's boat saw a duck boat passenger "hanging on for dear life" to the paddle wheel of the Belle, he said.

The mayor identified the crew member operating the boat as Bob Williams, known informally as "Captain Bob."

"He was a great ambassador for Branson," Best said. "He was at every event. He knew everyone. He was always promoting Branson."

A survivor from the family who lost nine relatives said the captain told passengers not to bother grabbing life jackets.

Tia Coleman told Indianapolis television station WXIN that she and a nephew were the only survivors among 11 relatives aboard the boat. She said she lost all her children, but she did not say how many.

Coleman said the captain told passengers that they would not need life jackets. By the time of the accident, "it was too late."

An email message seeking comment from Ripley Entertainment about Coleman's comment was not immediately returned.

Named for their ability to travel on land and in water, duck boats have been involved in other serious accidents in the past, including the deaths of more than 40 people since 1999.

Five college students were killed in 2015 in Seattle when a duck boat collided with a bus. Thirteen people died in 1999 when a boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.

"Duck boats are death traps," said Andrew Duffy, an attorney whose Philadelphia law firm handled litigation related to two fatal duck boat accidents there. "They're not fit for water or land because they are half car and half boat."

Safety advocates have sought improvements and complained that too many agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.

The boats were originally designed for the military, specifically to transport troops and supplies in World War II. They were later modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.

The sheriff said Thursday that two duck boats were on the water at the time of the storm. Both were headed back to land. One returned safely. The other did not.

Divers quickly located the sunken vessel, which came to rest on its wheels on the lakebed. Authorities planned to recover it at some point in the next few days.

The boat sank in 40 feet (12 meters) of water and then rolled on its wheels into a deeper area with 80 feet (25 meters) of water.

The Ride the Ducks tour begins in downtown Branson, where the vehicles take passengers on a tour while the captain cracks jokes and points out landmarks. 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.

Table Rock Lake, east of Branson, was created in the late 1950s when the Corps of Army Engineers built a dam across the White River to provide hydroelectric power to the Ozarks.

___

Associated Press writers Hannah Grabenstein in Branson; Jim Salter in St. Louis; Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Missouri; and John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas; and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

___

For the latest updates on this story: https://bit.ly/2NwoQVz.

Comic-Con gets a look at gritty Spider-Man spinoff 'Venom'

Director Ruben Fleischer says that there aren't really any heroes in the superhero movie "Venom," who is a grittier, more violent and more complicated character than his Marvel brethren.

Comic-Con attendees got a look at footage from the upcoming Spider-Man spinoff Friday and heard from stars Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed as well.

Hardy plays Eddie Brock and the alien symbiote Venom. The actor says he thinks Venom is the coolest superhero.

Fleischer also teased the possibility of an eventual face-off between Spider-Man and Venom. The film hits theaters in October.

Sony Pictures also showed an extended trailer for the animated "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," out in December, which focuses on Miles Morales learning the spidey ropes from a middle-aged Peter Parker.

Migos' Offset arrested on felony gun charges in Georgia

Offset of the hip-hop group Migos is facing two felony gun charges after he and his bodyguard were pulled over outside of Atlanta.

Clayton County Police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury tells WXIA-TV that an officer pulled over a Porsche 911 Friday afternoon for failing to maintain its lane.

Police say Offset, whose real name is Kiari Kendrell Cephus, was behind the wheel.

Police say the vehicle smelled of marijuana, prompting authorities to search the car and find three guns and less than an ounce of marijuana.

The 26-year-old is on probation for a 2015 arrest on drugs and weapons charges. He is now charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a weapon during a crime. He also faces misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession and making an improper lane change.

It's unclear whether he has an attorney.

___

Information from: WXIA-TV, http://www.11alive.com/

Jamie Lee Curtis hugs an emotional 'Halloween' fan

In Comic-Con's Hall H, the massive room that holds the highest profile presentations and hosts the biggest movie and television stars, there is still a strict division between the actors on stage and those in the audience. But Jamie Lee Curtis changed that Friday, walking off-stage during the presentation for the new "Halloween" to embrace an emotional fan.

Wiping tears away, the man used his moment at the Q&A microphone to tell a story about a home invasion he experienced. He said that her character saved his life and inspired him to use knitting needles in defense. He said he was a victor not a victim because of her, and that she was the reason he attended the convention.

A stunned audience watched as Curtis, without warning, left her seat on the big stage and walked down to share a quiet moment with the man.

His comments echoed what Curtis had said just moments earlier about how this new iteration of "Halloween" is so important because it allows her character to reclaim her narrative 40 years after the traumatic events with Michael Myers in John Carpenter's movie.

"This is a woman who has been waiting 40 years to face the person she knows is coming back," Curtis said. "40 years later Laurie had no real support, had no real help. PTSD is real. Trauma is real."

She says her character in this new film gets the chance to "take back the legacy" of her life.

"That weirdly enough seems to be a bit of a thing in the world today," Curtis added to cheers.

Curtis got a wildly enthusiastic reception from the crowd in the 6,500-seat Hall H throughout the presentation, which also featured some horrifying and bloody footage from the upcoming.

"Halloween," directed by David Gordon Green, hits theaters on Oct. 19.

M. Night Shyamalan debuts 'Glass' trailer at Comic-Con

Director M. Night Shyamalan says he could have launched the trailer for "Glass" in front of the summer's biggest movies in theaters, but that he wanted to hold it for Comic-Con.

The filmmaker said Friday at the annual comic book convention that he felt strongly that the Hall H audience should be the first to see it.

"It was always meant for you guys," he said.

The kind of people who turn out for Comic-Con and wait in the massive and sometimes overnight line to get into Hall H are the same kind who once helped turn "Unbreakable" into an enduring film even after it got lukewarm reviews from critics.

"I've been dreaming about being in this hall forever," Shyamalan said. "This is the mecca right here."

"Glass" melds the worlds of "Unbreakable" and "Split," two very different films about three very different superhumans, Samuel L. Jackson's fragile but brilliant Mr. Glass, Bruce Willis' strong and "unbreakable" David Dunn and James McAvoy's Kevin Wendell Crumb, who has 24 personalities. The three actors reprise their roles in "Glass."

The trailer showed the three in an asylum being interviewed by a psychiatrist played by Sarah Paulson who believes that their powers are merely delusions of grandeur.

All but McAvoy, who was sick, turned up in San Diego to promote the film in the convention's largest venue, the 6,500-seat Hall H.

Shyamalan marveled at how different things are for comic book films now versus when he was preparing to promote "Unbreakable" in 2000. He recalled the studio's marketing team explaining then that they were going to avoid using the term "comic book" because it was a fringe genre.

"It's fascinating given what's happened since then," he said.

While little was revealed about what will occur in the film, Shyamalan did tease that his film will likely be on the edge of a PG-13 and R-rating. It will be released in North American theaters in January.

'Guardians of the Galaxy' director James Gunn fired over offensive tweets

The director of the successful “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, James Gunn, has been fired from the franchise’s third installment over offensive tweets about pedophilia and rape.

>> Read more trending news 

The shocking tweets, which had been taken down, aren’t new and Gunn had apologized for them in the past, but conservative media personalities resurfaced the posts from 2008 - 2011 this week, causing a backlash against Gunn, who has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.

"The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him," Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement Friday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Gunn also issued a statement Friday, saying he’s a “very, very different” person than he was a few years ago and that he’s “developed as a person” since he posted the offensive tweets.

"My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative," he said. "I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don't reflect the person I am today or have been for some time."

“I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore,” he said.

>> Related: Disney: ′Star Wars Clone Wars′ will be back, announcement made at San Diego Comic Con

Gunn was fired before a scheduled appearance Friday at Comic-Con International: San Diego.

He was still writing the script for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and was expected to start shooting the movie this fall in Atlanta.

Disney and Marvel Studios saw huge successes with the “Guardian” movies, with the first one making more than $773 million and the second raking in $863, according to THR.

 

Netflix unveils first 8 Shonda Rhimes projects for platform

Shonda Rhimes's first slate of shows for Netflix includes a look at the migration of African-Americans from the Jim Crow South, romance among wealthy 19th century Londoners and a documentary on Debbie Allen's reimagining of "The Nutcracker."

The streaming service on Friday announced eight shows Rhimes and her collaborators at Shondaland are developing.

The show about African-American life will be based on Isabel Wilkerson's award-winning book "The Warmth of Other Sons," while the show about London aristocrats is based on Julia Quinn's best-selling romance novels set in Regency England.

Other projects include a show based on tech investor Ellen Pao's memoir, a series on California on the eve of the Mexican-American War, and a dark comedy about a troop of teenage girls who survive the apocalypse and want humanity to live by their Sunshine Scouts rules.

Pao in 2015 lost a high-profile sex discrimination lawsuit against Silicon Valley venture-capital firm where she had been a partner. Netflix said Pao's experiences "presaged the Time's Up movement."

Rhimes, the creator of hit shows such as "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal," signed a multiyear deal to produce Netflix shows last August.

No release dates were announced Friday.

Couple heartbroken after learning 9 family members killed in Missouri duck boat accident

Authorities said nine of 17 people who died in a duck boat accident in Missouri all came from the same family.

To make things worse, witnesses say the family was put on the ill-fated boat because of a ticket mix-up.

Tracy Beck, of Kansas City, says she and her family were waiting in line for another boat when the Coleman family stopped talking to have a group picture taken by the tour company.

We'll have the latest on this developing story on Channel 2 Action News Saturday AM, starting at 6 a.m.

Beck said the ticket taker realized the family should have boarded at a different location in Branson.

[READ: 'Our hearts just hurt': Nine Indiana family members among Branson duck boat victims]

The family had to get new tickets and was put on the boat that eventually sank. Beck said she recognized the family when pictures began circulating Friday.

A total of 29 passengers and two crew members were aboard the duck boat for a pleasure cruise. Seven of the 14 survivors were hurt when the vessel went down. At least two children and two adults were still hospitalized Friday afternoon. The captain survived, authorities said.

Gary and Carolyn Coleman, of Riverdale, said their hearts broke when they found out their loved ones, totaling nine, were killed in the duck boat accident. 

They told Channel 2’s Carl Willis that they were on an annual family trip and all lived in Indianapolis.  Some of the victims have been identified as Horace “Butch” Coleman, Ray Coleman, Maxwell Coleman, Glen Coleman, Angela Coleman, Donovan Coleman (who survived), Reese Coleman, Belinda Tony Coleman, and Tia Coleman (who survived).

Channel 2's @CarlWillisWSB confirms that the 9 family members who died in the duck boat accident were from Indianapolis. Carl talked with another family member who wasn't on the boat. He shared this photo with us. The woman on the far left and the boy on the far right survived. pic.twitter.com/gfcXwPg9YH — WSB-TV (@wsbtv) July 20, 2018

"I've just been looking at that picture all day," Gary Coleman told Willis. "I'm just lost. I don't know. I can't place it. I can't imagine it. We've had a death in the family. One or two, not a whole family at one time."

Relatives are headed to Missouri to salvage what they can and come to the side of the two survivors.  Including Tia Coleman, who spoke about the horrific incident from her hospital bed Friday.

"I said, Lord, just let me die. I can't keep drowning. I can't keep drowning. Then I just let go. And I started floating. And I was floating up to the top. I felt the water temperature raise to warm. I jumped up and saw the big boat. And when I saw them they were throwing out life jackets. And I just said ‘Jesus keep me, so I can get to my children. Keep me Lord.’" 

[READ: Duck boats linked to more than 40 deaths since 1999]

Gary and Carolyn said they are thankful for the witnesses on another boat who jumped in to help however they could.

"We're just going to trust and keep faith in God that he can soothe our spirits because this isn't easy," Carolyn Coleman said. 

Now, questions remain about what could have and should have been done to prevent this from happening.

[READ: Branson duck boat accident: Area warned of storms 8 hours in advance]

"My biggest question is: Why did that boat go out? They had thunderstorm warnings all day coming through Kansas and Missouri," Gary Coleman said. "To be out on the water like that ... the boat should have never left." 

The weather service station in Springfield, about 40 miles north of Branson, issued a severe thunderstorm watch for its immediate area Thursday, saying conditions were ripe for winds of 70 mph. It followed up at 6:32 p.m. with a severe thunderstorm warning for three counties that included Branson and the lake. The warning mentioned both locations. The boat went down about 40 minutes later, shortly after 7 p.m.

Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities. She said this was the company's only accident in more than 40 years of operation.

[READ: 'Death traps': Federal officials have warned about dangers from duck boats for two decades]

The sheriff said Thursday that two duck boats were on the water at the time of the storm. Both were headed back to land. One returned safely. The other did not.

Divers quickly located the sunken vessel, which came to rest on its wheels on the lake bed. Authorities planned to recover it at some point in the next few days.

The boat sank in 40 feet of water and then rolled on its wheels into a deeper area with 80 feet of water.

The Ride the Ducks tour begins in downtown Branson, where the vehicles take passengers on a tour while the captain cracks jokes and points out landmarks. 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.

[READ: 'God spared my child': Mom of Branson duck boat survivor speaks out]

Branson, about 200 miles southeast of Kansas City, is a country-themed tourist mecca built on a reputation for patriotic and religious-themed shows in numerous theaters.

Table Rock Lake, east of Branson, was created in the late 1950s when the Corps of Army Engineers built a dam across the White River to provide hydroelectric power to the Ozarks.

Stone Mountain Park sent Channel 2 Action News a statement Friday evening, saying they had suspended their Duck Boat ride:

"All of us at Stone Mountain Park are heartbroken about the accident that happened last evening on Ride the Ducks in Branson, Missouri. Our prayers are with the victims, their families and the team at Ripley Entertainment.

"As always, safety is our top priority here at Stone Mountain Park. Therefore, we have suspended our Ride the Ducks operation until more information about the Branson tragedy becomes available."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Director James Gunn fired from 'Guardians 3' over old tweets

James Gunn was fired Friday as director of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" because of old tweets that recently emerged where he joked about subjects like pedophilia and rape.

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn announced the removal.

"The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James' Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio's values, and we have severed our business relationship with him," Horn said in a statement.

Gunn has been writer and director of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise from the start, taking an obscure Marvel Comics title about a group of multicolored misfits and turning it into a space opera decked with comedy and retro music that made Chris Pratt a major movie star. Through two installments the franchise has brought in more than $1.5 billion in global box office.

Gunn apologized for the old tweets Friday after his firing, echoing similar sentiments he expressed on Twitter a day earlier.

"My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don't reflect the person I am today or have been for some time," Gunn said in a statement. "Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then."

Gunn's current Twitter account is heavy on left-leaning politics, and some on the right with whom he'd sparred found and promoted the tweets from 2008 to 2011 that led to his firing.

Disney did not announce a replacement director for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." Gunn had been writing the script and it's not clear how far along he was or whether new writers will be brought in. Marvel Studios has not announced a release date, though Gunn had said 2020 was the target.

Marvel has staked a lot on the third "Guardians" movie. Gunn has said the film would end the current iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy and launch another decade, or more, of Marvel films.

In addition to Pratt, the "Guardians" franchise stars Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, and features the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.

The characters also were an essential part of this year's Disney and Marvel megahit "Avengers: Infinity War."

Fans at Comic-Con in San Diego said they disapproved of Gunn's tweets, but were mixed on how they felt about his firing.

"It's unfortunate to hear and makes me question whether I would see a movie like that even without his creative involvement," Mario Panighetti of Mountain View, California said.

Joanne Renda of Toronto said, "It's never really funny to joke about that stuff, but copping to it is the first step. Everyone deserves a second chance. It's kind of crazy our culture today, firing people right away."

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AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed to this story from San Diego.

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Follow Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton .

Coates leaves The Atlantic, where he rose to prominence

Ta-Nehisi Coates is leaving his job as a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he rose to prominence over the past decade.

In a company email shared Friday with The Associated Press, Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg called Coates a "dear friend" and wrote that Coates wanted to "reflect" on the "significant changes" in his life. Coates has become one of the country's best-known writers through his magazine work and through "Between the World and Me," which won the National Book Award in 2015. His essays have included "The Case for Reparations," in which he called for compensation for the country's long history of racism, and "The First White President," about Donald Trump.

Coates has been working on a novel and is on the faculty of NYU's journalism school.

Willie Nelson announces Frank Sinatra covers album, ‘My Way’

Willie Nelson’s newest album will be one of Frank Sinatra covers.

Rolling Stone reported that the 85-year-old country music and songwriting icon will release “My Way” Sept. 14. It will be the second album he’s released this year. He released “Last Man Standing” in April.

>> Read more trending news 

Nelson and the late Sinatra were good friends, having appeared in a TV spot for NASA in the 1980s. He first heard Sinatra at 10 years old, when he appeared on the radio show “Your Hit Parade.”

In an interview in the June/July issue of AARP magazine, Wilson said he learned from Sinatra.

“I learned a lot about phrasing listening to Frank,” Nelson said. “He didn’t worry about behind the beat or in front of the beat, or whatever — he could sing it either way, and that’s the feel you have to have.”

Before the release of the album, which contains songs made famous by Sinatra, fans can watch the music video for Wilson’s cover of “Summer Wind.”

Taste of Country reported that “My Way” is available for pre-order on vinyl, CD and digital formats. The track list for “My Way” is below.

  1. “Fly Me to the Moon”
  2. “Summer Wind”
  3. “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”
  4. “A Foggy Day”
  5. “It Was a Very Good Year”
  6. “Blue Moon”
  7. “I’ll Be Around”
  8. “Night and Day”
  9. “What Is This Thing Called Love” (with Norah Jones)
  10. “Young at Heart”
  11. “My Way”

Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift to star in movie adaptation of 'Cats' musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical “Cats” is finally getting a film version.

Playbill reported that Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden and Ian McKellen are set to star in the film adaptation.

>> Read more trending news 

It was previously reported that the film would be directed by Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper, whose previous credits include “Les Misérables” and “The King's Speech.”

Variety reported that Oscar winner Hudson will play Grizabella, the “glamour cat” who sings the musical’s big number, “Memory.” The roles McKellen, Swift and Corden will play have not been announced. 

Production will start on the film in November.

Webber composed “Cats” based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” a poem collection released in 1939. The collection was about “Jellicle cats” and their secret world, according to Variety. The musical focuses on the cats as they choose which cat will go to the “Heaviside layer” and return to a new life. It originally opened on Broadway in 1982 and ran for 18 years there and ran for 21 years in London’s West End.

“Cats” was previously released as a direct-to-video film in 1998.

A release date for the new adaptation has not been announced.

David Spade: Family coming together after Kate Spade's death

Just a month after funeral services for his sister-in-law, comic-actor David Spade was back to business, promoting his new movie. But he also offered a few words about his family tragedy.

Fashion designer Kate Spade was married to David's brother, entrepreneur Andy Spade. Kate Spade killed herself in June. In an interview, David Spade said "everyone's pulling it together." He added: "I think we're getting in the best place we can at this point."

Less than three weeks after Spade's death, her father, Earl Brosnahan, died at age 89 — the day before his daughter's funeral.

Shortly after his wife's death, Andy Spade released a statement noting she had "suffered from depression and anxiety." David Spade has made a $100,000 donation to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which provides education and support for families impacted by the disease.

When asked about the donation, Spade replied, "Well, I think there's a lot of people that are at a lot of different levels of situations. (New York) is a tough town. It gets stressful. And everybody feels like they're an inch away from a breakdown. It's very hard. So, you can't look down at those people. You just say, 'Hey! You help each other out if you can.'"

Spade's new film, the comedy "Father of the Year," made its Netflix debut Friday.

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This story has been corrected to show Earl Brosnahan died the day before the funeral, instead of minutes before.

Smithsonian gallery explores diversity in US lynchings

The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery acknowledges that people of color have long been missing in the works it exhibits.

Now the museum is tackling the issue in an unusual way.

The Portrait Gallery is currently showing about 20 works by Los Angeles-based artist Ken Gonzales-Day that examine lynchings, mostly in the American West, and probe the history of racial violence in the United States.

"Latinos were a very small number" of those lynched in the U.S, Gonzales-Day told The Associated Press during a recent interview at the Portrait Gallery. "Native Americans, Chinese, even smaller numbers."

"But when you think of it as a spectrum of racialized violence, then we can see it is part of a continuing (history) in the United States that dates back to its founding," he said.

Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based non-profit, documented more than 4,400 lynchings of black people in the United States between 1877 and 1950.

Gonzales-Day published a book in 2006 in which he verified 354 cases of lynchings in California between 1850 and 1935. Of those, 140 were Latinos — the largest group — while minorities made up two-thirds of the total.

To avoid re-victimizing those who were killed or causing pain to their families, Gonzales-Day's works remove the body and the rope from each image. His ultimate goal is to spotlight racial violence in the U.S. in a broad sense.

"Traditionally, when people talk about the Wild West, they say, 'Yes, there were some instances of Latinos being lynched, but they were all bad guys.' My project was (to) prove that race was a factor," he said.

Gonzales-Day sees a continuation of racially motivated violence today, citing the recent separations of migrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border as an example. He hopes his audience thinks of current issues when looking at his work.

"The question is empathy. Can you empathize with another person who is not like yourself, with a different cultural background, with a different language?" he asked. "This challenge of empathy is our nation's challenge."

"UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light" also includes 17 paintings and one sculpture by artist Titus Kaphar, who recreates well-known paintings to include those traditionally left out by smearing tar, erasing with white paint and shredding canvas into strips.

"This exhibition talks about those absent histories, and about the many ways in which systems have been set in society to say the white Anglo person is worth more than the African-American, or the Native American or the Latino," the museum's Curator of Latino Art and History, Taína Caragol, told the AP.

The exhibition runs through January.

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Reach Luis Alonso Lugo at http://www.twitter.com/luisalonsolugo

Pop artist Robert Indiana's cause of death 'undetermined'

The state medical examiner was unable to determine the cause of pop artist Robert Indiana's death, but the death was not deemed suspicious, a spokesman said on Friday.

Indiana's death likely was cardiac-related, but the official cause and manner of death are both listed as "undetermined," medical examiner's spokesman Mark Belserene said.

"Because of initial concerns regarding (Indiana's) death it is ruled 'undetermined' and may be changed should any new information be determined in the future," Belserene said in a statement. "However any suspicion of foul play was investigated and ruled out."

Indiana's "LOVE" series, showing the letters L and O above the letters V and E, with the O tilted sideways, is instantly recognizable around the world. The artist died on May 19 at age 89 at his Vinalhaven Island home 15 miles (24 kilometers) off the mainland.

Indiana's attorney maintains that he died from respiratory failure and that hospice care was provided in his final month in keeping with his request to be kept free of pain and to die at his home.

"Under these circumstances, it was extremely frustrating to me as his attorney that his body would be removed from the funeral home and subjected to an autopsy," attorney James Brannan said on Friday.

An FBI agent investigating possible art fraud related to Indiana requested the autopsy. A federal lawsuit filed in New York accuses two men of insinuating themselves into Indiana's life and taking advantage of him in his final years.

Friends had expressed concern for the reclusive artist's well-being because he had not been heard from for some time.

The lawsuit, which was filed the day before his death, suggested he was purposefully isolated at his island home by his caretakers. It seeks damages for trademark infringement and breach of contract.

Indiana, who was born Robert Clark in the state of Indiana, moved to Maine four decades ago after leaving behind the art scene in New York.

His will calls for his home and studio, which he dubbed the Star of Hope, to be transformed into a museum and for his art collection to be preserved and open to the public.

Brannan, the attorney, declined to place a dollar figure on the artist's estate. Based on the court filing fee, the value of the estate is estimated to be upward of $28 million.

A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 15 in Knox County Probate Court to sort out various assets belonging to Indiana. An inventory of assets is due to be completed by the end of August, Brannan said.

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