Springfield, MO

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NTSB issues preliminary report on Ride the Ducks accident

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The National Transportation Safety Board on Monday issued a preliminary report in its investigation of the amphibious vehicle operated by Ride the Ducks Branson.

The report confirms previously released facts, including that the vessel, known as Stretch Duck 7, carried 29 guests and two crew members. Seventeen people, including one of the crew members, died July 19 when the boat capsized amid severe weather conditions on Table Rock Lake.

The vessel, according to the NTSB, was salvaged on July 23 and transported to a secure facility so investigators could inspect and test its operational systems.

The report points to video recording system data that was recovered from the vessel, as well as weather data collected by the NTSB. The NTSB’s initial review of the digital video recorder system on the Ride the Ducks vessel found crews knew beforehand a storm was on its way.

Officials have conducted 33 interviews of witnesses, vessel operators, inspectors and company officials, and the NTSB intends to participate in an upcoming investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard, according to the report.

The report also referenced previous NTSB recommendations that duck boats should be made to stay buoyant in the case of an accident. The NTSB previously has said operators should remove the vessels’ canopies.

Since the accident, at least two families of victims have filed suit seeking to ban duck boats and collect damages, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.


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