According to the class-action lawsuit: “the canopy of the Duck Boat entrapped passengers and dragged them to the bottom of the lake,” adding that for two decades “defendants had been repeatedly told to change the design of their Duck Boats to make them safe, but they entirely ignored these warnings.”
The Ride the Ducks tourist boat capsized as a thunderstorm ravaged the area of Missouri’s Table Rock Lake, and the victims ranged in age from 1 to 76 years old, according to multiple reports. Some 17 bodies were recovered, nine people were members of the Coleman family.
The estate of the deceased members Ervin Coleman and Maxwell Ly, filed the lawsuit Sunday in US District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
According to reports, the lawsuit claims that Ripley Entertainment, Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks Branson, Herschend Family Entertainment and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing knew before the horrific event that the Duck Boat industry was “entirely unfit to be used for any purpose and had previously been responsible for dozens of deaths.”
“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.
A GoFundMe campaign has been established to help Tia Coleman, who survived along with her nephew.
The captain of the boat told everyone “don’t worry about grabbing life jackets – you won’t need them,” and everyone followed the instructions, Coleman said.
“However, in doing that, when it was time to grab them, it was too late and I believe a lot of people could have been spared,” she said. “The only thing that I would like to be done but can’t is to bring my family back.”