The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against three employees of local tour operator Ride the Ducks Branson in relation to the sinking of a tour boat on Table Rock Lake on July 19, 2018, an incident that resulted in the deaths of 17 individuals.
According to the probable cause statement, on the afternoon of July 19, 2018, the duck boat Stretch Duck 7 entered Table Rock Lake during a severe thunderstorm warning, encountered severe weather and rough winds, took on water and eventually sunk, resulting in the death of 17 people.
The probable cause statement alleges that Scott McKee, the boat’s captain, failed to exercise his duties as a licensed captain by entering the lake during a severe thunderstorm warning, and failed to follow policies and training by not having passengers affix flotation devices as the boat took on water.
The statement also alleges that Charles Baltzell as operations supervisor and Curtis Lanham as general manager failed to communicate weather conditions and cease operations during a severe thunderstorm warning.
Mr McKee was charged with 17 counts of first degree involuntary manslaughter, a class C felony, five counts of first degree endangering the welfare of a child, a class A felony, and seven counts of first degree endangering the welfare of a child, a class D felony.
Mr Baltzell and Mr Lanham have each been charged with 17 counts of first degree involuntary manslaughter, a class C felony. In total, 63 charges were filed against the three defendants.
The attorney general’s office clarified that the charges are merely accusations and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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