Boating Tragedy in Missouri Kills 17 and Raises Duck Boat Safety Fears
We are horrified by the tragedy in Missouri in which 17 people lost their lives when a storm whipped up on a lake and drowned passengers on a duck boat. This accident again highlights duck boat safety fears.
The duck boat sank on Table Rock Lake at Branson, Missouri. A severe thunderstorm churned up the lake and caught the boat in choppy waters.
One amphibious vessel known as a duck boat, made it to shore, ahead of another Ride the Ducks Branson that was craft carrying 31 people. More than half of them, including children, were killed in the incident.
Our thoughts are with the families of those that died. There are many disturbing questions about this incident. Investigators are now looking at the life jacket situation and what the crew knew about the incoming weather.
The area around Branson was placed under a severe thunderstorm warning shortly after 6:30 p.m., about half an hour before the heavy winds hit the lake.
The tragedy also raises serious questions about the safety of duck boats. These vessels have been involved in a series of fatal incidents and questions linger about their regulation.
Duck amphibious vehicles have been involved in a number of fatal accidents around the world in the past two decades, with some sinking or being swamped or others colliding with vehicles.
The vehicles have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past.
Duck Boat Safety Fears – Previous Incidents Left Passengers Dead
Past tragedies involving duck boats include one in 2015 in Seattle in which five college students died when a boat collided with a bus. In 1999, a duck boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas with the loss of 13 lives.
Safety advocates have fought for improvements to the boats since the Arkansas incident, reported the Daily Mail. Critics argue part of the problem is numerous agencies regulate the boats with differing safety requirements.
Ride the Ducks is a national tour operator. It has 90 amphibious vehicles and takes passengers on sightseeing tours both on land and in the water.
The design of the vessel is based on the DUKW trucks used in the Second World War. At least 36 people have died in duck boat accidents since the late 1990s.
A lawsuit was brought by an injured student over the Seattle crash. She claimed the duck boat was experiencing mechanical problems before the crash. Some witnesses said they saw the wheel come off prior to the impact.
An article in TIME magazine after the latest tragedy branded duck boats “death traps.”
Lawyers who represented the families of two students who lost their lives in a 2010 duck boat sinking in Philadelphia have been demanding a ban on the amphibious vehicles since then.
Attorney Robert Mongeluzzi told TIME duck boats are death traps. He claims the fixed canopies on the top of duck boats pull the passengers down with the vessel when disaster strikes.
We are extremely concerned about the safety record of duck boats both on the water and on the land. We hope a thorough investigation sheds new light on this tragedy and ensures no more duck boats sink in this fashion.
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers works with clients in cities on the water including Hampton, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, and Norfolk. We have already seen lives lost in Hampton Roads this summer. If you have lost a loved one, please call us at (757) 455-0077.