Tourists killed after duck boat capsized

17 people died in a duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, according to Southern Stone County Fire Protection spokesman Eric Nielsen.

Posted: Jul 21, 2018 2:58 PM
Updated: Jul 21, 2018 2:58 PM

Thursday's sinking of a duck boat in Missouri isn't the first time trouble with the tour vessel turned fatal. At least 39 people have died in duck boat accidents in the past 20 years.

The amphibious vehicles travel on both land and water and are popular tourist attractions in many US cities, but accidents in and out of the water have marred their popularity and forced some companies to shut down their businesses.

Jeffrey Goodman, who has represented people injured in past duck boat accidents, said the vessels should be banned.

"They are dangerous on land and on water. They are death traps and sinking coffins," he told CNN in an email.

The National Transportation Safety Board and multiple duck boat companies, including Ride The Ducks of Seattle, declined to comment for this article. Ride The Ducks Branson is closed while officials investigate the accident on one of its boats.

Here's a brief look at fatal accidents involving the amphibious vehicles:

Branson, Missouri, 2018

Seventeen people are confirmed dead after a duck boat carrying 31 people capsized and sank during a severe thunderstorm on Table Rock Lake.

The "Ride The Ducks" boat embarked on its trip when the weather was calm, the president of the businesses' parent company said, and was making its way back to land when it was overcome by massive waves and strong winds that had picked up due to the weather.

The bodies of all the missing people have now been accounted for and recovered.

Boston, 2016

A 28-year-old woman died after she was struck by a duck boat while riding a motor scooter, according to CNN affiliate WBZ.

Her death led to changes in local duck boat safety laws. Blind spot cameras and proximity sensors are now required on all duck boats, and duck boat operators have to separate the responsibilities of driver and tour guide.

Seattle, 2015

Five international college students were killed when a tour bus and a "Ride The Ducks" boat collided. At least 44 people were injured in the accident, which took place on the Aurora Bridge. All the people who died were bus passengers, police said.

The NTSB concluded that the crash was caused by a the improper manufacturing and inadequate maintenance of a boat part that stopped working, which led to a loss of control of the vehicle. The group had several recommendations, including issuing a recall for the part and for Ride The Ducks Seattle to up its inspection process.

Philadelphia, 2015

A Texas woman was struck and killed by a duck boat while crossing the street, according to CNN affiliate WPVI. Witnesses told police the victim crossed against a red light and was looking down at a mobile device while walking and could have been distracted.

Philadelphia, 2010

Two Hungarian student tourists died when a 250-foot sludge barge towed by a tugboat overran the disabled 33-foot "Ride The Ducks" tour boat on the Delaware River, plunging the amphibious vessel and its 35 passengers and two crew members underwater. The sightseeing "duck boat" was anchored in the shipping channel after being shut down because the boat's operator saw smoke and feared an onboard fire.

The tugboat pilot admitted that he was distracted by his cell phone and laptop for an extended period of time before the collision, that he piloted the boat from the lower wheelhouse -- where he had significantly reduced visibility -- and that he did not maintain a proper lookout or comply with other essential rules of seamanship, according to federal prosecutors. He was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for his role in the incident.

Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1999

Thirteen people died when a duck boat took on water and sank. Of the 21 people on board, seven passengers and the operator managed to escape, the NTSB said.

The NTSB determined that the vehicle took on water through a loose rubber boot and sank because it didn't have reserve buoyancy, meaning there was nothing to help it float. The agency said that the boat's canopy was a major impediment to the passengers' survival.

Of the seven people found dead inside the vehicle, four were found trapped in the canopy.

One survivor said, "If you had the cover off, everybody would have had a chance," the NTSB report says.

The NTSB recommended that built-in flotation or other measures be mandated for all amphibious vehicles. It also recommended that if a boat has inadequate reserve buoyancy, passengers should be required to wear life jackets and the canopy should be removed.

On Friday, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who has been in Washington since 2007, said the recommendations were never enacted into law. She said she and her colleagues would take a look at possible legislation, possibly as early as next week.

"I'm not going to rest until we get something in the law on a national basis that does a better job of regulating the safety of amphibious vehicles," she said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
Clatsop6695
Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
Fresno79950932
Alameda65679757
Ventura59061412
San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Medford
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 40°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 64°
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 40°
Medford
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 40°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 36°
Clearing tonight, brighter tomorrow
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Jackson County reports 30 new cases

Image

Sunday, January 17th Evening Weather

Image

A block 12/24 part two

Image

Medford School District Plans for the Future of the COVID-19 Vaccine

Image

Astronomers discover "Super Earth"

Image

Super Planet discovered in Milkway Galaxy

Image

OREGON REPORTS LARGE AMOUNT OF NEW CASES 1/16/21

Image

Oregon reports 41 new deaths, 1,173 cases, only 1 death away from 1,800 deaths

Image

5 SHOW

Image

GOV BROWN UPSET CLIP