BRANSON, Missouri--The actions of Ripley Entertainment and Ride the Ducks, the companies responsible for the operation of duck boats on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, are responsible for the sinking of a boat on July 19, 2018, that killed 17 people, including 9 members of the Coleman family of Indianapolis, ruled the National Transportation Safety Board.
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Almost two years after the sinking, the NTSB ruled that the companies had dangerous policies, including having canopies on the boats and having passengers wear life jackets, which could trap them under the boats if they capsized.
The captain, already in trouble with the law, was blamed for not heeding warnings of severe weather by the National Weather Service.
“Ride the Ducks should have suspended water operations for the Stretch Duck 7 and the other last tours of the day in anticipation of imminent severe weather,” said an NTSB spokesperson at a Tuesday news conference. “It is likely that the captain believed he could safely complete the water portion of the tour before the thunderstorm arrived.”
The Coast Guard is also on the hook for not enforcing recommendations from 1999 that could have made the boats stay afloat.
The entertainment companies have settled around 30 lawsuits because of the sinking. The attorney for the Coleman family has demanded that duck boats be taken out of service.