A wrongful death lawsuit filed in July in U.S. District Court in Kansas City seeks $100 million in damages on behalf of two of 17 people who died when a tourist duck boat sank July 19 at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri.
The lawsuit alleged that the owners and operators of the duck boat put profits over people’s safety when they decided to put the Ride the Ducks boat on the lake despite design problems and warnings of severe weather, according to the Associated Press.
When the boat started to sink in the severe conditions, the canopy entrapped passengers and dragged them to the bottom of the lake, lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi told reporters recently.
Mongeluzzi is representing the Coleman family that lost Ervin Coleman, 76, and Maxwell Ly, 2 in the accident.
Mongeluzzi says the passengers might have survived if the the boat’s operators followed a 2002 National Transportation Safety Board recommendation that all duck boat canopies be removed, per CNN.com.
“This tragedy was the predictable and predicted result of decades of unacceptable, greed-driven, and willful ignorance of safety by the Duck Boat industry in the face of specific and repeated warnings that their Duck Boats are death traps for passengers and pose grave danger to the public on water and on land,” the lawsuit alleges.
“Since 1999, there have been 42 deaths associated with duck boats,” Mongeluzzi told reporters while also calling out the company for allowing the boat in the water with 31 people on board despite a severe thunderstorm warning being for the area.
The NTSB announced in July that a preliminary review of video and audio recordings from the boat showed that the lake changed from calm to dangerous in a matter of minutes. The vessel sank in approximately 15 feet of water and came to rest on the lake floor at a depth of 70 feet.