The estates of two members of the Coleman family who died in the Branson, Missouri, Duck Boat crash filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the operator for $100 million.
According to an Independent report, administrators of the estates of victims Ervin Coleman and Maxwell Ly filed the lawsuit on Sunday in U.S. District Court Western District of Missouri. The suit alleges, “The canopy of the Duck Boat entrapped passengers and dragged them to the bottom of the lake.” In fact, for two decades “defendants had been repeatedly told to change the design of their Duck Boats to make them safe, but they entirely ignored these warnings.”
The tour, which was operated by Ride the Ducks Branson capsized during inclement weather on Table Rock Lake near Branson on July 19 killing 17 of the boat’s 31 passengers at the time. Nine of the 17 victims were from the Coleman family.
The lawsuit included Ride the Ducks Branson, Ripley Entertainment, Ride the Ducks International, Herschend Family Entertainment, and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing as defendants. The suit accused all groups of knowing for decades that the duck boat industry is dangerous and not designed to be used as it is currently operated in many cities throughout the United States.
The lawsuit also said, “This tragedy was the predictable and predicted result of decades of unacceptable, greed-driven, and willful ignorance of safety by the Duck Boat industry in the face of specific and repeated warnings that their Duck Boats are death traps for passengers and pose grave danger to the public on water and on land.”
Over the years, dozens of people have died in Duck Boat-related accidents both on water and on land. Since 1999, 40 people have been killed in Duck Boat accidents, according to an Inquisitr report. However, this is the first accident in 40 years of operations for Ride the Ducks Branson. Unfortunately, the loss of life as a result of the tragedy was massive.
Currently, Ride the Ducks Branson remains closed, and it is working to help the families affected by the accident. Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks Branson, said through a spokesperson, “We remain deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred in Branson and we are supportive of the affected families. The investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is still underway and no conclusions have been reached. We cannot comment at this time.”
It’s likely that this lawsuit is one of many that will be filed as a result of this Duck Boat accident.