There were 31 passengers aboard the duck boat on Table Rock Lake, outside Branson, Missouri, on July 19 when hurricane-strength winds churned up the water and sank the craft, causing one of the deadliest US tourist tragedies in recent years.
The families of four of the 17 people killed when a World War Two-style tourist "duck boat" sank on a Missouri lake during a storm this month have sued the tour operator, saying it recklessly allowed the vessel out in unsafe weather. Others killed were from Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri.
A lawsuit seeking $100 million in damages has been filed against the owners and operators a duck boat that sank last week on a Missouri lake, killing 17 people. "And more importantly, they want to make sure that no one ever dies again inside a death trap, duck boat", said attorney Robert Mongeluzzi.
The suit notes that before acquiring the Branson operations of Ride the Ducks International, Ripley Entertainment hired an inspector, Steven Paul, to inspect the amphibious vehicles.
The lawsuit says that Ripley ignored repeated safety warnings over two decades about the duck boats' canopies, and the danger they pose during an emergency.
"The negligence, wrongful death, and product liability lawsuit names Ripley Entertainment Inc., Ride the Ducks Branson and Herschend Family Entertainment as defendants". The legal team planned a news conference Monday morning.
Ripley's spokeswoman, Suzanne Smagala, said the company remains "saddened" by the tragedy and continues to support the victims and their families.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the sinking.
An attorney says an IN family that lost nine members when a tourist boat sank on a Missouri lake wants to ensure that duck boats are banned so no one else suffers the same grief. The captain returned to the driver's seat, and the driver lowered plastic curtains, but court documents say as the boat sank, the curtains and canopy entrapped the passengers and crew. It also accuses the defendants of ignoring warnings the NTSB issued in 2000 that the vehicles, which are created to operate on land and water, should be upgraded to ensure they remain upright and floating in bad weather.
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There were 31 people on the duck boat when it took on too much water during a storm and sank. "They want this lawsuit to ban duck boats".
When Robert McDowell, then-president of Ride the Ducks Branson, responded that upgrades would require significant costs, NTSB Chairman Jim Hall said the recommendations were made because the agency believed "immediate action was necessary to avoid additional loss of life".
What does the first lawsuit say?
"Basically it's any misrepresentation or fraud in connection with the sale of merchandise, which is defined to include services and things like that", said William Beil, shareholder with Kansas City law firm German May who has handled cases involving the law.
In the wake of the tragedy in the Missouri lake, Boston Duck Tours said it continuously monitors weather conditions to keep riders safe.
The statement from the attorney general's office does not name any individuals or companies.
"It is clear that they knew severe weather was coming, and they tried to beat the storm by going on water first, rather than refunding the 40 bucks that each of these people paid, putting their lives at risk", Mongeluzzi said at Monday's press conference.
On Friday, the NTSB released an initial report following a review of video recordings, and within four minutes of being on the water, whitecaps rapidly appeared on the water and wind speeds increased around 7 p.m.