A federal lawsuit seeking $100 million has been filed on behalf of the family which lost 9 family members in the fatal duck boat sinking in Missouri. The duck boat sank in Table Rock Lake on July 19 in a severe storm, killing 17 of the 31 people on board. When the Ride the Ducks Branson amphibious vessel started sinking, the canopy entrapped the passengers and dragged them to the bottom of the lake, according to the family’s attorney.
The estates of Belinda and Angela Coleman were listed as plaintiffs in a court filing, while the operators of the boats were listed as defendants. Authorities named 9 victims with the surname Coleman, including 4 children, the youngest just 1. The victims were Angela, 45; Arya, 1; Belinda, 69; Ervin, 76; Evan, 7; Glenn, 40; Horace, 70; Maxwell, 2; and Reece, 9.
“Despite being aware of impending severe weather conditions, Ripley intentionally decided to take the Duck Boat out onto Table Rock Lake instead of canceling the tour and refunding the patrons’ money,” the complaint said. The defendants had been warned on numerous occasions that the canopies used on their duck boats were dangerous and created death traps for passengers in the event of an emergency.
According to the complaint, the defendants were warned as recently as August 2017 that their duck boats’ dangerous design put them at risk of sinking. However, the complaint said, the defendants’ “greed caused them to ignore severe weather conditions that demanded they cancel all trips scheduled for their Duck Boats.”
“Defendants were specifically told that the dangerous design of the Duck Boats rendered them susceptible to sinking in the event of rough conditions on the water due to the improper placement of the motor’s exhaust in front of the boat and below the water line,” the complaint said.
Ripley Entertainment, the owner of Ride the Ducks of Branson, said in a statement that it remains deeply saddened by the accident.
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