Branson Duck Boat Tragedy - This Must Never Happen Again

Branson Duck Boat Tragedy - This Must Never Happen Again

The Ride the Duck Boats of Branson tragedy that claimed 17 lives in late July 2018 has caught national headlines and alarmed people of duck boat dangers. However, this is not the first time a duck boat sinking or capsizing has led to multiple deaths.

In 1999, a duck boat in Arkansas sank rapidly after setting out on Lake Hamilton. 13 people aboard drowned, sparking much of the same fears and outrage we see today after the tragedy in Branson. In response to the Lake Hamilton duck boat sinking, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an investigation into both the single incident and duck boat safety overall. The NTSB released a list of warnings and recommendations to improve the safety and design of duck boats, but none seemed to pay attention.

In fact, a private inspector told NTSB investigators that he spoke with Ripley Entertainment in August 2017 and warned them of the high risk of sinking their duck boats would face in rough waters. Ripley Entertainment is the parent company of Ride the Ducks of Branson. The inspector, Steve Paul of Test Drive Technologies, noted engine, pump, and hull design failures that all posed a sinking hazard, especially in inclement weather.

Despite Test Drive Technologies’ inspection and warning, Ripley Entertainment continued to use the duck boats for recreational rides. The company is responsible for at least 20 duck boats in Branson, its own website boasted before the website was temporarily “closed” with a single page issuing condolences to the surviving families of those lost in the Branson duck boat sinking. The company also offers duck boat rides in other states. Although, operations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania were shuttered just two years ago in response to three deaths in similar incidents.

What Happened to Sink the Branson Duck Boat?

According to multiple reports, Branson was expected to get covered with a powerful thunderstorm between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM at the latest on July 19th, 2018. Despite the bad weather warnings, Ride the Ducks of Branson continued to take passengers out for recreational rides. Some statements even say the boat operators and other employees told passengers that life vests were unnecessary. When the waters got rough shortly after 7:00 PM, one of the boats sank beneath the waters, resulting in 17 deaths. All of which should have been entirely preventable if the NTSB’s words had been heeded those many years ago, if the inspector’s findings had been taken seriously, and if the weather reports had been taken into account.

Sanders.Law Stands Up for the Wrongfully Injured & the Mourned

At Sanders.Law, our Kansas City, Missouri personal injury and wrongful death attorneys send our heartfelt condolences out to everyone who has been affected by the Branson duck boat tragedy. While it is time to mourn, it is also time to take action and ensure a similar tragedy never happens again. We believe that corporations and companies like Ripley Entertainment must be held accountable for the preventable tragedies they cause through negligence and greed. By bringing forth civil complaints and lawsuits for the peoples of our communities in need, we can take even the biggest of corporations to court and make them see what their negligence has done — and bring them to justice. Oftentimes, companies only change their ways when they are forced to do so, and the court system helps make that change possible.

Have you been hurt, or have you lost a loved one, in a preventable accident? We want to be the legal team that stands up for your rights, takes the fight to the careless company behind the tragedy, makes certain you obtain the peace of mind you deserve, and helps both you and our community get justice. Call (816) 844-6938 to talk to our Kansas City accident lawyers about your rights today. Free consultations are available.


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