On Thursday, July 19, 2018, a tourist “duck boat” similar to the one above capsized near Branson, Missouri.

At least 17 people were killed in the tragedy. At least 7 more were injured. 31 people were on board at the time of the incident.

As of July 20, 2018, divers were in the water looking for missing passengers.

What Happened?

Preliminary information indicates the vessel was taken out in severe thunderstorms, including winds of 60 miles per hour or more.

It appears there was a severe weather advisory issued at least 30 minutes before the vessel capsized.

Other Duck Boat Incidents

This is not the first injury or death aboard a duck boat.  Duck boats have been involved in other incidents, including the following:

May 1, 1999: 13 people died when a duck boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas. The United States Coast Guard concluded that a drive shaft issue caused the Incident.

July 2010: a vessel was involved in an allision with a barge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania following a mechanical failure. Two passengers were killed and several others were injured. A $17 million maritime injury settlement was ultimately reached.

September 24, 2015: Five college students were killed and 69 were injured in Seattle, Washington when a duck boat collided with a bus. Ride the Ducks was criticized by the National Transportation Safety Board, in part for not registering as a manufacturer and for failing to address a bulletin that warned of problems with the axle housings on the vehicle. Reports also indicated the company was manufacturing vehicles using World War II-era surplus parts. The company’s injury lawyer was quoting that changes made after the fact would permit the company to receive the highest safety rating from the Washington state Utilities and Transportation Committee.

May 8, 2015: A Ride the Ducks boat killed a woman in Philadelphia at a street crossing.

April 30, 2016: A duck boat ran over a scooter, killing a woman and injuring a man.

About Amphibious Vehicles

A duck boat is an amphibious vehicle, which means it can travel on land or water. Duck boats were traditionally used to invade countries in times of war, and were operated by experienced military personnel. Now they are being used to entertain tourists, sometimes with tragic consequences.

About Ride The Ducks

Preliminary information indicates Ride the Ducks International manufactured the duck boat.

Ride the Ducks International operates more than 90 amphibious vehicles nationwide, including in Branson, Missouri; Stone Mountain Park, Georgia; San Francisco; and Guam.

Reports indicate Ride the Ducks is partially owned by the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, the owners of the Silver Dollar City theme park. Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation purchased the company in 2004, and later purportedly sold off a majority stake. Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation is also partners with Dolly Parton and several of her ventures.

Ride the Ducks Branson is purportedly owned by Ripley Entertainment, which according to a link that has since been taken down, acquired part of the company in December 2017. Ripley Entertainment is a large company that owns 32 “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” museums and operates over 90 attractions and a dozen brands nationwide.

Maritime Injury Lawyers

Maritime injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP represent people injured in maritime and offshore incidents nationwide, as well as the families of those who have been needlessly killed.

We have been members in the prestigious Maritime Law Association, and have handled, gone to trial, won, and settled numerous maritime and offshore injury cases.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a duck boat injury, please contact us now by calling 1-800-489-2216, or filling out our online contact form.