Duck boat driver who died in sinking tragedy was a former pastor and 'God-fearing man'

(Facbook/Jennie Phillips-Hudson Carr)A screen capture from a bystander's video footage shows the duck boat struggling against the waves moments before it capsizes

The man driving the duck boat that sank on a Missouri lake killing 17 people was a 'God-fearing man,' according to his grandson. 

Robert 'Bob' Williams has been named by friends and family as the man driving the duck boat on Table Rock Lake on Thursday night when it was overwhelmed by waves during a fierce flash storm, according to the Kansas City Star. A second duck boat was out on the lake at the time but managed to get back to shore safely. 

According to the Kansas City Star, Williams served as an associate pastor and elder at The King's Cathedral in Providence for over 10 years before he and his wife Judy moved to Branson, Missouri. 

In a touching tribute, Bishop Jeffery A. Williams told the Kansas Star that Williams was 'undoubtedly' trying to save others when he lost his life in the sinking. 

'Pastor Bob was a Prince of a Man, loving, kind, and generous, whose loss to our family is incalculable,' said the bishop, who was also Williams' son-in-law.

Judy Williams told CNN that her husband was the kind of person who would 'talk to anybody.'

'He made an effect on many lives. He would give up his life for somebody,' she said. 

His grandson Victor Richardson described him in comments to CNN as a 'God-fearing man' who was 'very humble' and 'the calmest spirit you could ever meet.' 

There are reports that nine of the victims came from the same family.  They have not yet been named but a family member told RTV6 news channel that they were on vacation when the tragedy occurred.

According to RTV6, investigators have blamed the accident on bad weather.  But the scale of the tragedy has trigged fresh debate as to the safety of duck boats, which are amphibious vehicles that can travel on both land and water.