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First lawsuit filed over Missouri duck boat accident

When North Carolina residents take a commercial boat tour, they expect the trip will go smoothly. However, attorneys representing the families of two people who drowned in a Missouri duck boat accident on July 19 claim the vessel was dangerous. As a result, they have filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the owners of the boat, Ripley Entertainment.

Seventeen people died when a Ride the Ducks boat sank in severe weather on Table Rock Lake in Branson. Nine of the victims were from the same Indiana family. The lawsuit, which was filed by relatives of two victims from that family, claims that Ripley dismissed storm warnings and failed to take proper safety measures on the day of the accident. It further contends that the company ignored safety warnings about the dangers of placing canopies on duck boats and failed to correct improperly installed bilge pumps.

In 2002, the National Transportation Safety Board warned that canopies "caged" duck boat passengers into the vessel, potentially trapping them during an emergency. In August 2017, an inspector allegedly warned Ripley that bilge pumps on its duck boats were installed too close to the exhaust system and could take on water during a storm. According to the lawsuit, both of these safety issues played a role in the Missouri accident. The suit includes two counts of wrongful death, two counts of negligence, two counts of negligent infliction of emotional distress, strict product liability, outrageous conduct and violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

Wrongful death claims are designed to help families of deceased victims recover various damages, including funeral expenses, loss of income and loss of companionship. An attorney could help a family prepare a claim and negotiate a fair settlement.

Source: FOX 2 Now, "Wrongful death lawsuit filed against 'Ride the Ducks' seeks $100 million", June 30, 2018

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