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Two Missouri duck boat captains targeted in criminal investigation

Aug 30, 2018 09:40 AM

The men could face charges after the sinking last month on Table Rock Lake that killed 17

Courtesy NTSB

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — The captains of two duck boats that battled rough waters before one sank last month on Missouri's Table Rock Lake are targets of a criminal investigation, according to federal court documents filed Wednesday, The Kansas City Star reported.

Kenneth Scott McKee, captain of the sunken Stretch Duck 7, and Barry King, captain of Stretch Duck 54, “are aware of their status as targets of the government action,” the document states. They are under investigation for allegedly operating the vessels in a manner that endangered lives.

Seventeen of the 31 passengers on Stretch Duck 7 died when the boat sank during a strong storm on July 19. Stretch Duck 54 was also on the water but made it to shore.

The documents filed in U.S. District Court also state that Ripley Entertainment, which owns the Ride the Ducks boats, is another “target” or “subject” of the investigation.

The U.S. Coast Guard referred the investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri on Aug. 13 to pursue possible federal criminal charges. That office, based in Kansas City, includes the Table Rock Lake area.

According to the documents filed Wednesday, the Coast Guard notified the U.S. Attorney’s Office that its preliminary probable cause determination was that the sinking of Stretch Duck 7 and the loss of lives “resulted from the misconduct, negligence, or inattention to the duties of the captain of the vessel at the time of the sinking, which is a violation of federal criminal law.”

Click here to read the story.

Sep 24, 2018 10:34 pm
 Posted by  lorenzo h.

Dear Capt. Sweeney,

I agree with you 100 percent. These floating coffins should not be allowed to operate as passenger vessels. I've been saying this since 2002 after
Lady Duck sank in the Ottawa River, in mere seconds and 200 meters from shore, taking four lives. I wouldn't ride on these contraptions unless I'm sitting on monkey island with my survival suit on!

I'm a retired marine inspector with TC. I never came across a DUKW as none were operating in my district, but I saw one out of the water in Halifax. The low freeboard and lots of through-hull fittings below the waterline certainly challenges watertight integrity. I was always very strict with watertight integrity while inspecting small passenger vessels. I often used "to the satisfaction of the inspector" clause to go beyond the regulatory requirements when critical safety could be increased. Let's hope the Missouri disaster is the end of the line once and for all.

Best regards,
Lorenzo Hache
Retired senior marine inspector,
marine engineer first class license

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