Missouri AG files lawsuit in duck boat tragedy

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley filed a petition Friday, with hopes that Branson Duck Vehicles, LLC and Ripley Entertainment, Inc. will no longer be able to operate duck boats.

Hawley filed the petition in the Circuit Court of Taney County, and it alleges the companies violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. The petition cites safety violations, which include "ignoring life jacket requirements and weather warnings."

According to the lawsuit, the defendants "have been on notice for decades of ongoing safety hazards that posed a present and deadly danger to every person who boarded a duck boat. Defendants kept that information from passengers and made false promises, fraudulent statements, and misrepresentations to consumers that safety was a top priority when in actuality it was their own profits."

This marks one of several lawsuits connected to the tragedy that occurred on July 19 on Table Rock Lake in Branson. In the incident, seventeen people died while on a tour of the lake when the duck boat sank during a thunderstorm.

“This tragedy should not have happened,” Hawley said in a press release. “My hope is that this lawsuit will ensure that unsafe duck boats and companies who put profits ahead of safety will not continue to operate. Consumers have a reasonable expectation of safety and that was not met on July 19.”

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