NTSB: Coast Guard ignored duck boat safety recommendations


FILE – In this July 23, 2018 file photo, a duck boat that sank in Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., is raised after it went down the evening of July 19 after a thunderstorm generated near-hurricane strength winds, killing 17 people. The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, released a “Safety Recommendation Report” on the accident. The NTSB says the Coast Guard has repeatedly ignored safety recommendations that could have made tourist duck boats safer and potentially prevented the accident. (Nathan Papes/The Springfield News-Leader via AP, File)

MISSOURI (KOLR) — New information in the investigation of the duck boat tragedy that killed 17 people on Table Rock Lake.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a new report calling upon the US Coast Guard to enforce its safety requirements.

Stretch Duck 7 sank to the bottom of the lake in July of 2018 when a quick-moving storm with high winds whipped water into the boat. One of the problems the NTSB has identified is passengers couldn’t easily get out of the boat as it was sinking.

Today’s report recommends changes to two key issues with commercial amphibious vessels. One having sufficient reserve buoyancy for duck boats and two requiring the canopies and side curtains to be able to be removed.

The NTSB says quote, “the failure to implement previous safety recommendations related to reserve buoyancy for DUKWs contributed to the sinking of the stretch duck 7.”

The report also mentions the 1999 Hot Springs Arkansas duck boat accident that killed 13.

The NTSB says 22 recommendations were issued, and over 2 decades, only nine have been implemented for modern duck boats. One of the recommendations that were denied was reserve buoyancy.

Safety experts also say a fixed canopy likely increased the number of deaths on stretch duck 7 on table rock.

Chairman Robert Sumwalt says lives could have been saved if safety recommendations were followed and 20 years sink the miss majestic accident the same risks exist.

The Table Rock tragedy investigation is still ongoing and no official probable cause has been determined. That will come at a later time.

Today’s report is strongly urging the US Coast Guard to implement the NTSB duck boat safety recommendations.

We reached out to Ripley’s Entertainment Public Relations Manager Suzanne Smagala-Potts for a statement. She said, “We are reviewing the report by the National Transportation Safety Board. Branson Ride The Ducks continues to cooperate with the NTSB and all investigative authorities as they determine the facts surrounding the unprecedented storm and resulting accident on Table Rock Lake that occurred in July of 2018. As we have from the beginning, we are dedicated to working with the community of Branson, and continuing our support of the families and employees who were impacted by the accident.”

She also said that they have made more progress in all the settlements.

This is a developing story.

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