It’s been a week since 17 people were killed after a duck boat capsized
during a storm in southwestern Missouri, but the country is still reeling
from the unforeseen tragedy. Tia Coleman, who lost her husband, 3 children
and 5 other family members, said she believes her loved ones could have
been saved if life vests had been readily available on board.
The Ride the Ducks Branson amphibious vessel had 31 people on board when
it left the shore on the lake near Branson, Missouri, as a severe thunderstorm
stirred up intense winds and choppy waves.
As the boat slowly sank, onlookers described the horrifying scene—one
after the other, heads bobbing on the water would slowly slip under, never
resurfacing. Although tourists in other boats attempted to help, the seemingly
unstoppable winds made it impossible to rescue everyone.
As the National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard began investigations,
the accident is raising concerns about the safety of duck boats and whether
tourists should be passengers on them. This is not the first catastrophe
involving duck boats. In 1999, 13 people were killed when a duck boat
sank in Hot Springs, Arkansas. After that accident, the NTSB called for
sweeping changes to the way such tourist boats operate and are regulated.
According to the NTSB, duck boats have a notoriously hard time staying afloat.
Duck boats, which can ride on both land and water, are a popular tourist
attraction in Missouri. The boat in Branson had been on a regular tour
around Table Rock Lake. Experts said it is unclear why operators chose
to ignore the forecasts and warnings of a potentially violent storm before
setting off onto the lake.
Early Saturday, the Stone County Sheriff's Office released the names
of all 17 people who died, ranging in age from 1 to 76 years old, authorities said.
Jim Pattison Jr., president of the company that owns the duck boat tours,
said the ferocious thunderstorm "came out of nowhere." According
to weather data however, the storm traveled hundreds of miles at 55 mph
before it hit the lake. The area around Branson was placed under a severe
thunderstorm warning about half an hour before the boat sank.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a boating incident,
Florida admiralty & maritime disasters attorneys at David C. Rash P.A. today. Reach out to us today to learn more about
the legal assistance we can provide to you.
Call (954) 914-7116 or contact us online
to schedule a free initial consultation.