On Thursday, July 19, 2018, one of the deadliest U.S. Boat accidents in recent years occurred in Brandon, Missouri. Seventeen people were killed when a duck boat packed with tourists sank during a thunderstorm. A duck boat from Ride Ducks Branson was floating down Table Rock Lack when a severe storm hit, causing the amphibious tour bus to capsize and sink.
At the time of the accident, 31 people were onboard. The victims who were found were taken to CoxHealth Branson Hospital. Seven of the 14 survivors sustained injuries. All the duck boat survivors were discharged from the hospital by Sunday evening, July 22.
While authorities are blaming the stormy weather and 60 mile-per-hour winds for the accident, the initial investigation examined the people involved in operating the boat and the decisions made, the machinery of the duck boat and its operational functioning quality, the general environment of the time, and the survivability factors present on the boat.
On Monday, July 23, divers with the Missouri state highway patrol started bringing the duck boat back to the surface from its resting place 80 feet below using a crane and a floating barge. The salvaging was expected to take five hours; however, it only took 90 minutes. Prior to the salvaging, eight divers photographed the boat. It is believed the boat sank 40 feet and rolled down an incline an additional 40 feet. The United States Coast Guard oversaw the operation.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the wreck; however, they estimate the investigation could take years to complete. Ride the Ducks Branson, a subsidiary of Ripley Entertainment, has offered to pay funeral and medical costs for the victims and survivors. They have also suspended operation pending the investigation.
A duck boat is a World War II-era craft refurbished for modern tourism. It is a land-and-sea tour bus that is used for tourist attractions in harbor, river, and lake cities.
This catastrophic accident has placed a renewed focus on the safety of duck boats and what can be done to prevent future accidents. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident of any type in Kentucky and believe another party or company may be at fault, feel free to get in touch with Thomas Law Offices today.