The country is mourning this week over the seventeen people who were killed when a tourist boat sank in Branson, Missouri. Nine of the people killed were from a single family from Indiana who were on vacation. The victims range in age from 1 year old to 76 years old.
Duck boats are popular attractions on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri. A duck boat is an amphibious vehicle that has the ability to drive around on land like a regular vehicle and then splash into the water and turn into a boat with the flip of a switch. Thousands of people enjoy them each year at the location where this accident occurred.
The trip started out normally, just like any other duck boat trip, despite the warning that severe storms were moving into the area. During the trip, a strong thunderstorm struck the area and caused major turbulence on the water. The canopies on the side of the boat were down to keep the rain out, but it appears that this may have kept many people from getting out when the boat began to sink. While life jackets were available, one survivor said that the captain of the boat told them not to worry about wearing them.
That they wouldn’t need them.
When the duck boat was raised from the bottom of Table Rock Lake, those lifejackets were still hanging, unused, from the inside of the boat.
The NTSB said it may take up to a year to figure out what caused the boat to sink. The first step will be raising the boat from eighty feet below the water’s surface. We do know that a private inspector warned the company that operated the duck boat of design flaws that put the watercraft at greater risk of sinking. Specifically, he warned that the boat’s engines and pumps that remove water from the hull may fail in inclement weather.
A warning about design flaws, the knowledge of inclement weather, and being told not to worry about life jackets. Unfortunately, it seems like a disastrous chain of events may have contributed to the loss of life on Table Rock Lake.
Federal officials have warned that duck boats are death traps, yet they remain popular attractions all over the country, including in the Miami area. A quick Google search will pull up plenty of places you can take a duck boat trip in the area.
Duck boats are only one type of attraction that is offered in the water in Miami. From jet skis and banana boats to parasailing and fishing excursions, there are plenty of ways to have fun.
But we want you to have safe fun. At Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, we want to be sure that you and your family choose attractions that are safe for everyone. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents occur. When they do, we hope nobody is injured or killed. If the worst does occur, you may need a wrongful death attorney in Miami. We will help you in what is sure to be a difficult time. From going through documents to handling insurance companies and investigations, we are equipped to help you every step of the way. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 305.931.6666.