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Officials Warned About Critical Flaw in Duck Boats Before Missouri Tragedy

Photo of Benny Agosto

Recently an amphibious craft commonly referred to as a duck boat capsized in Missouri, killing 17 and injuring seven others. Prior to this incident federal regulators warned about design flaws related to the WWII era amphibious landing craft.

In recent decades, 24 others have perished in similar duck boat incidents. A similar event occurred in 1999 when another duck boat capsized causing 13 of the 21 passengers to perish. After the 1999 incident, the National Transportation Safety Board identified common flaws related to all duck boats. Investigators found the crafts sank too easily. Furthermore, modifications to the amphibious crafts such as steel and vinyl covers often caused passengers to become trapped if the vessel capsized. The report found that passengers often become trapped against the hull, despite wearing a flotation device. The covering forces passengers to egress through the windows, potentially trapping many. In a 2002 report, the Safety Board found that "canopies created major safety risks" and that they put at risk "millions of passengers each year, including a great many children."

A photo of the Missouri duck boat involved in the most recent tragic event show windows below the canopy line. One survivor has even reported the boat captain telling passengers their life preservers were not needed. Recently, the NTSB has reached out to duck boat operators nationally, recommending canopy removal and retrofitting their vehicles.

Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 68 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. If your life has been impacted by a similar tragedy, please contact the office Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at 713-396-3964.

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