SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A federal grand jury has indicted the captain in July’s duck boat tragedy that killed 17 people, including 9 family members from Indianapolis.
Kenneth McKee, 51, was the captain of the Stretch Duck 7 when it sank during a storm July 19 on Table Rock Lake in Missouri.
He faces 17 counts of misconduct, negligence, or inattention to duty.
“Each of the 17 counts…represents a life that was lost when Stretch Duck 7 sank while being piloted by Mr. McKee,” said Tim Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
Garrison said the indictment is sometimes referred to as “seaman’s manslaughter.”
Federal prosecutors say lightning was in the area when McKee drove Stretch Duck 7 into the water. When weather conditions became severe, McKee failed to take necessary action, prosecutors allege.
“McKee’s acts of negligence contributed to the deaths of 17 people aboard Stretch Duck 7,” Garrison said.
“He failed to instruct his passengers to put on their personal flotation devices. He failed to increase his speed and make the most direct path to shore [and] he failed to prepare passengers to abandon ship,” said Garrison.
McKee could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. If convicted, each count carries a sentence of up to 10 years. He also faces a fine of $250,000.
The federal investigation into the tragedy on Table Rock Lake is ongoing.
Garrison could not share specific details of the investigation due to federal regulations on grand jury proceedings, but he said that any future developments will be shared with the public as quickly as possible.
(Photo by WDAF in Missouri.)