It's been claimed the captain told passengers not to wear life jackets

A woman who lost nine members of her family when a tourist duck boat sank in the US state of Missouri says the captain told passengers not to put life jackets on.

The state governor's office earlier confirmed that nine passengers from one family were among the 17 who died when the boat went down at Missouri's Table Rock Lake on Thursday.

Survivor Tia Coleman spoke from her hospital bed.

"We weren't supposed to grab them unless you were in distress - which we were - but he told us that we don't need the.

"I don't know what to say - it was definitely life-changing".

Her children, husband and uncle are among 17 who died in the tragedy on Thursday.

Last night, mourners held a candle-lit vigil close to the lake where it happened.

Mallory Cunningham (left) Santino Tomasetti (centre) and Aubrey Reece attend a candlelight vigil in the parking lot of Ride the Ducks. One of the company's duck boats capsized Thursday | Image: Charlie Riedel/AP/Press Association Images

The victims were aged between one and 70.

Winds of up to 65mph had whipped up the water and the boat carrying 31 people became swamped by waves before it capsized.

The company said it will be closed for business during the investigation, and "to allow time to grieve for the families and the community".

The Ride The Ducks company said: "We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred at Ride The Ducks Branson.

"This incident has deeply affected all of us. Words cannot convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking.

"We will continue to do all we can to assist the families who were involved."