Captain Charged With Negligence For Duck Boat Incident That Killed 17 People
The charge was filed under the Seaman's Manslaughter mandate.
On July 19, 2018, a Ride the Ducks boat ride sank into Missouri's Table Rock Lake due to inclement weather. Passenger Tia Coleman and a few of her family members boarded the craft and were told, alongside other passengers, that it wasn't necessary to wear a life vest. Given the strong winds, the boat capsized and 17 riders died, including nine of Coleman's family.
According to The Washington Post, captain Kenneth Scott McKee has been charged with neglect and misconduct for his actions. "Each of the 17 counts in this indictment represents a life that was lost when Stretch Duck 7 sank while being piloted by Mr. Mckee," said Tim Garrison, who serves as the Western District of Missouri's U.S. attorney.
After the incident, Coleman filed a wrongful death lawsuit. CNN adds the other members of her family also filed a lawsuit against the boat company that amounted to $100 million. "While nothing can ever ease the grief in my heart, I am grateful that the U.S. Attorney's Office is fighting for justice for my family and the other victims, and is committed to holding fully accountable all those responsible for this tragedy," she said.
Per attorney Jeanne Grasso, the Seaman's Manslaughter Statute has rarely been used in court. The law was established in the late 1830s. The Post notes the last case that referenced the maritime law was in 2005.