The Ride the Ducks Branson company reportedly was warned about dangerous safety issues and design flaws nearly a year ago regarding its amphibious vessels, according to Fox News.
It is being reported by Fox News that a mechanical inspector hired by owners of the company, Ripleys Entertainment based in Florida, hired a mechanical inspector to examine 24 duck boats that it was interested in buying at that time. Steven Paul, who served in the U.S. Army for six years as a diesel mechanic before opening his own inspection company, told Fox News that he provided Ripleys Entertainment with a two to three page fleet inspection report along with a 24-checklist report and photos in August, 2017.
He told Fox News that his reports cautioned the now owners that the boats’ engines and pumps that remove water from the hulls might fail in rough water conditions and that water could seep into the exhaust system, cutting off the motor that pumps out the water from the duck boats. Ripleys Entertainment purchased Ride the Ducks in December.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) along with the U.S. Coast Guard is inspecting the incident and said it should have a preliminary report within weeks, but a final report of the probable cause of the tragedy is not expected for at least a year.
Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices and maritime lawyer, talked to several news agencies regarding the tragic duck boat incident last Thursday that killed 17 people and injured 14 more. Clifford talked about the dangers of the duck boats and called for greater regulation of the amphibious vessels to USA Today, ABC News and WGN radio as well as The Maritime Executive.
The “black box” apparently has been recovered from the vessel, but the duck boat remains at the bottom of Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, about 80 feet deep in the water, while salvage operations are expected to begin today.