Company won't operate duck boats in 2019 after fatal sinking

9 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 1:25:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY (AP) — The company that owns a duck boat that sank on a Missouri lake in the summer of 2018, killing 17 people, announced Thursday that it won't operate the vessels in 2019 because of the ongoing investigation and will instead open a replacement attraction in the tourist town of Branson.

Ripley Entertainment spokeswoman Suzanne Smagala-Potts declined to comment on whether the boats would ever float again on Table Rock Lake, saying that the company is focused on 2019 and hasn't "looked in the future of what we may or may not do."

The new attraction, called Branson Top Ops, will include indoor laser tag, an interactive outdoor maze with barriers, and a tower. She said work would begin soon and that the venue is expected to open for Memorial Day weekend. She said 10 percent of this year's proceeds, with a minimum amount of $100,000, will be donated to local first responders, such as police and firefighters.

"Branson thrives on tourism, so we want to make sure we continue to give back to the community," Smagala-Potts said.

For nearly 50 years, tourists have toured the Branson area on refurbished amphibious vessel originally used by the military during World War II, with Ripley purchasing the duck boats in 2017. The company suspended operations after one sank during a storm in July. Those killed were from Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Arkansas.

Ripley based in Orlando, Florida faces several lawsuits alleging that it launched the doomed boat despite warnings of severe weather. The boat's captain was indicted on 17 counts accusing him of failing to tell passengers to put on flotation devices or prepare them to abandon ship even after waves crashed into the boat. Ripley does not have duck boats anywhere else.

Smagala-Potts said the company is pursuing mediation with the families.

"We want to do the right thing for the families and the community," she added.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA – The city of Columbia reporter hundreds of residents were without power Friday afternoon in east central Columbia, in... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 6:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former Walmart Inc. chief executive David Glass, who owned the Kansas City Royals for nearly... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 5:24:21 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
MID-MISSOURI - Another week in January, and another winter storm. This time around it will likely all happen in one... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 4:46:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Fire Department is reminding residents to make sure their home is safe during these cold temperatures. ... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 4:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone Hospital Center will hold a job fair specifically for former employees of Pinnacle Hospital on Tuesday. The... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 3:12:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
FULTON - Police took one suspect into custody after responding Friday afternoon to a burglary in progress call near W... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 3:05:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Sleet and freezing rain hit across mid-Missouri throughout the day Friday. Jefferson City Public Works director... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:52:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The last flight to land at Columbia Regional Airport Friday touched down at 10:00 a.m. Those departing the... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:52:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia is reporting more than 1,000 people are without power in east central Columbia, in... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:26:12 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
FULTON - Officers took two suspects into custody after investigating a report of a stolen package in the residential area... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
MONTGOMERY COUNTY - Two people have been arrested and charged in connection with the 2017 death of Benjamin Renick. ... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 12:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - With colder temperatures expected to arrive in mid-Missouri, shelters are preparing to care for those in need. ... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 6:27:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - One Missouri lawmaker's bill could create new curriculum for schools in the state. House Bill 2153, sponsored... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 5:21:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he plans to fight efforts to expand the number... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 4:06:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
NEW FRANKLIN — In a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon, New Franklin police chief Mike Wise announced plans to step down.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 2:14:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - The announcement of Pinnacle Regional Hospital's closing came suddenly this week, even catching residents off guard who expected... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 1:57:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House violated federal law in withholding security assistance to Ukraine, an action at the... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 12:35:15 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON DC - The United States Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, 89-10, on Wednesday morning, and Senators Josh Hawley... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 11:32:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 33°
9pm 34°
10pm 35°
11pm 36°
12am 37°