It has been two weeks since 17 people tragically and horrifically lost their lives when the Ride the Ducks Stretch Duck 07 Duck Boat sank to the bottom of Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.
Since then a lawsuit has been filed, Sunday, by two of the nine members of an Indiana family who died in the tragic boat accident. The family is seeking $100 million in damages. A second lawsuit has been filed as well by the three daughters of William and Michelle Bright, who died in the accident. The lawsuit seeks more than $125,000 in damages.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office has opened a criminal investigation regarding the duck boat incident, under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
“We are working with investigators to determine the facts and whether any criminal charges are appropriate,” said Mary Compton, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.
A federal lawsuit has been launched on behalf of the estates of 76-year-old Ervin Coleman and 2-year-old Maxwell Ly. “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 dangers to the public on water and on land,” the lawsuit states.
The defendants in the federal lawsuit are Ripley Entertainment, Inc., Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks of Branson, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing.
Ripley Entertainment is known for a plethora of brands such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, aquariums and Guinness World Record to name a few. The Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation is one of the largest family owned themed attractions corporations and owns Silver Dollar City and Dollywood.
A Ripley Entertainment spokeswoman said in a statement Monday that the company remains “deeply saddened” by the accident. She said the company would not comment further because a National Transportation Safety Board investigation is still underway and no conclusions have been reached.