The captain of a duck boat that sank during a thunderstorm on Table Rock Lake in Missouri last July will face 17 indictments, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
Seventeen people were killed after the amphibious vessel sank on July 19 with 31 people on-board while a thunderstorm raged on the lake. The boat capsized and sank to the bottom of the lake after a line of severe thunderstorms rolled through the area.
The United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Tim Garrison, said Thursday morning that a grand jury had indicted 51-year-old Kenneth Scott McKee. The captain of the duck boat faces 17 counts of misconduct, negligences, or inattention to duty by a ship's officer, resulting in the death of another.
The company that operates the Branson Ride the Ducks operation, Ripley Entertainment, has also been sued by some of the survivors of the boat sinking as well as family members of the deceased.
The U.S. Attorney's office requested that a judge delay some of those proceedings as they continued their criminal investigation into McKee's actions that led to the boat sinking.
The lawsuits filed by family members, attorneys say the operators of the duck boat were negligent in ignoring weather warnings and for ignoring criticisms that the boats were unsafe after a similar disaster unfolded in 1999 in Hot Springs, Arkansas.