AP

Congress OKs new law on tourist boats after Missouri tragedy

Dec 16, 2022, 12:39 AM | Updated: 2:59 pm

FILE - A duck boat that sank in Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., is raised July 23, 2018, after it ...

FILE - A duck boat that sank in Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., is raised July 23, 2018, after it went down several days earlier after a thunderstorm generated near-hurricane strength winds. A bill requiring stricter safety rules in response to the 2018 sinking of the tourist boat that killed 17 people passed the Senate on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, and will head to President Joe Biden. (Nathan Papes/The Springfield News-Leader via AP, File)

(Nathan Papes/The Springfield News-Leader via AP, File)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A bill requiring stricter safety rules in response to the 2018 deadly sinking of a tourist boat in Missouri is headed to President Joe Biden for his signature.

The legislation, which passed the Senate on Thursday, directs the U.S. Coast Guard to draft new requirements for amphibious vehicles such as the duck boat that sank during a storm on Table Rock Lake near Branson. Riders from Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Arkansas were killed; 14 people survived.

Lawmakers included the new regulations in a defense funding bill.

The measure calls for design changes to ensure the crafts stay upright. The Missouri vessel flooded through an air intake hatch on the bow that was not weather tight.

Many of the changes were recommended by the the National Transportation Safety Board after its investigation into the July 2018 tragedy.

If the Coast Guard had followed recommendations for small passenger boats that the NTSB made after a similar boat sank in Arkansas in 1999, killing 13 people, the Missouri vessel “likely would not have sunk,” NTSB accident investigator Brian Young said when the report was released.

The agency has said Ride the Ducks should have suspended water operations that day because of the severe weather forecast.

Under the measure, operators of amphibious vehicles would also be required to seek refuge if a weather watch or warning is issued for high winds.

The legislation also calls for immediate removal of canopies, side curtains and associated framing from the boats to improve passengers’ chances of escape during emergencies.

On April 5, a Missouri judge dismissed first-degree involuntary manslaughter charges against Kenneth Scott McKee, 54, the captain of the boat; Curtis P. Lanham, 39, the general manager at Ride the Ducks in Branson; and Charles V. Baltzell, 79, the operations supervisor who was a manager on duty when the boat sank.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office refiled involuntary manslaughter charges against the three within days.

Attorneys for the men have said they were not aware of the severity of the storm and did not intentionally put their passengers in danger.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

3 hours ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

1 day ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

1 day ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

2 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

3 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

4 days ago

Congress OKs new law on tourist boats after Missouri tragedy