Branson duck boat survivor calls for ban

A woman who lost nine relatives to the July duck boat sinking near Branson announced she’s campaigning to get the vehicles banned.

Tia Coleman, whose husband and three children died in the accident, unveiled her campaign Tuesday from her Indianapolis home. Coleman started an online petition that’s already received more than 3,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.

On July 19, 17 passengers drowned while on a duck boat ride on Table Rock Lake when a torrential storm capsized the boat.

A lawsuit is expected to be filed on Coleman’s behalf eventually, and two lawsuits have already been filed on behalf of other Coleman relatives.

Both lawsuits name Ripley Entertainment Inc., Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks of Branson, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing. The suits allege the owners and operators of the boats put profit over safety when deciding to continue running boats during a severe weather warning, and that the captain did not ask passengers to wear life jackets.

Yelena Brackney, Coleman’s sister, said the family also supports legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill that would require duck boats to be better equipped to stay afloat or require the vehicles’ canopies be removed so passengers could escape.

One federal suit alleges decades of “willful ignorance,” claiming Ride the Ducks was asked in 2000 to alter the design of the boats to keep them afloat during bad weather conditions, and in December 2017 was warned by an inspector about boat design issues.

Read more: Associated Press

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