NTSB: Operator and USCG at Fault for 2018 Duck Boat Deaths

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is blaming Ride the Ducks owner Ripley Entertainment for the duck boat tragedy that killed 17 people in 2018 on a lake near Branson, Missouri. It also said the USCG contributed to the sinking by failing to implement recommended safety measures after a similar incident in 1999.

In its report, the NTSB says Ripley Entertainment caused the accident by allowing Stretch Duck 7 to go into Table Rock Lake despite a severe weather warning.

The NTSB also blamed the Coast Guard for not following the recommendations the board had made after another duck boat sank in Arkansas in 1999, killing 13 people. After that incident the NTSB said the USCG should recommend additional reserve buoyancy requirements and also advocate for the removal of duck boat canopies to allow passengers to escape in case of a sinking.

The Coast Guard responded to the latest NTSB report by recommending that owners and operators of duck boat passenger vessels remove canopies, side curtains, and associated overhead framing to improve emergency egress for passengers and crew. But one duck boat operator, Boston Duck Tours, is already saying that their boats are safe and they will not remove their canopies.

You can read more about the latest NTSB report here and an NBC story from 2018 that shows how duck boat safety recommendations have been ignored for more than 20 years.

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