BRANSON, Mo. — July 19, 2021 marks three years since the duck boat in Branson sank on Table Rock Lake during a severe thunderstorm.
A total of 63 felony charges have been filed in Stone County against the captain of the ship, the general manager, and one supervisor. An attorney representing the victim’s families says this is a step in the right direction.
Andrew Duffy is an attorney who is representing many family members of the victims from the Branson Duck Boat tragedy.
“Everyone on that duck boat who survived and anyone who lost a loved one is of the firm belief that this was preventable, highly, and that the actions by the duck boat employees were absolutely reckless,” said Duffy.
Beyond that, Duffy says the duck boat used three years ago was a death trap and that it was originally designed to transport soldiers during times of war.
“All these original duck boats that were built back in the ’40s are not like the pleasure vessels we’re used to going on when we go on boats,” said Duffy.
Now, a new duck boat business plans to bring tours back to Branson next year.
“Our main goal is to provide a fun, wholesome family entertainment activity that everybody can enjoy,” said Jaregan Braal with Branson Duck Boat Tours.
Braal says their tours will be on the Hydra-Terra.
“The Hydra-Terras are specifically built for the tourism industry,” said Braal. “They have an aluminum foam-filled hole that provides the positive displacement. They also have a four-foot freeboard, allowing them to handle much rougher waters.”
“And they appear to be very different duck boats,” said Duffy.
“We’re heartbroken by the tragedy that led to the loss of life to so many people, but we think there’s a great opportunity to do things better and we look forward to bringing this amazing Hydra-Terra as our vehicle, which is much safer than the old ducks.”
The new company was scheduled to open this year but posted on social media that they will be waiting until March of 2022 to open due to unexpected delays.