Tourists are becoming aware of the hazards of duck boat tours. Last July, a duck boat sank while on a tour of Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri. As a result, 17 people lost their lives and several more were injured. Since the incident, Arnold & Itkin has been exploring the dangerous history of these popular amphibious vessels. Additionally, our firm is representing a survivor who was forced to experience the ill-fated tour of Table Rock Lake. Our client has suffered emotional distress from the event.
This week, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that duck boat tourism has seen a significant decrease in ridership across the United States. The report interviewed three operators out of Chattanooga, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. Chattanooga Ducks owner Alex Moyers has reported that the business was experiencing its busiest year in more than two decades until the tragedy occurred in July. Moyers stated that business usually slows down in late August—the downturn in late July represented a slowdown that was nearly a month early.
The story is consistent in the other cities. Pittsburgh’s Just Ducky Tours reported a significant decrease since the accident. Owner Christopher D’Addario has claimed that some people have returned to his service while others have expressed their fears in regards to the safety of duck boats. Ride the Ducks in Seattle reports a similar slowdown, though the company’s spokesperson maintains that this could be due to heavy smoke from wildfires that have been burning nearby.
Over 100 Amphibious Vessels Safety-Certified in the United States
The United States Coast Guard has stated that there are 118 vessels like the duck boat that sank in Branson. Each vessel holds a valid certificate of safety inspection. However, safety inspections do not always save lives. An inspector warned Ride the Ducks of potentially catastrophic flaws to their boats less than a year before the accident. Unfortunately, Ride the Ducks did not heed the warnings that it was presented with, and 17 people lost their lives as a result. Duck boats also have a history—there have been at last 10 tragedies involving the amphibious vessels since 1999.
The duck boat accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP will continue to closely follow this story as more details emerge. We will fight for the recovery of those who have been harmed by these dangerous vehicles that should have been left in history. The Branson, Missouri accident is still under investigation by authorities.