An accident in Missouri on July 19th, 2018, left 17 dead, including nine members of one family. The duck boat capsized in a heavy storm, leaving rescue officials scrambling to save as many lives as they could. Sadly, the weather interfered with rescue efforts, and despite the best efforts of officials those seventeen people perished.
Duck boats are amphibious craft, designed to be piloted both on land and in the water. Duck tours take passengers on tourist trips through the local area, showcasing natural attractions. These tours are extremely popular, attracting thousands of adventurers each year.
The high death toll in this instance was due to a confluence of factors, including:
- Adverse weather moving in suddenly
- Limited use of life vests by passengers on the craft
- Design flaws in the craft
All three of these factors were remediable by the company that operated the craft. First, though the weather moved in suddenly, there were severe weather warnings in the area, and even the potential for very bad weather should have led to the tour being canceled immediately.
Second, according to witnesses, passengers were discouraged from using life vests by staff. Staff reportedly indicated to those onboard that these life-saving devices were unnecessary and there was no risk of a major accident occurring. Though staff indicated where the life vests were stored, no attempt was made to help passengers obtain them.
Third, an inspector who was hired by the company last year to evaluate the duck boats determined the exhaust system was insufficient. Due to the way the craft was designed, there was a risk for water to back up into the engine, causing it to stall. A stalled engine in bad weather is a recipe for disaster.
If you or someone you love was injured or killed in an accident, and you believe negligence was a factor, please consider consulting with an experienced attorney. A qualified lawyer will guide you through the process of holding the company responsible for their actions.