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Missouri Accident Is Not The First Time That A Duck Boat Ride Has Turned Fatal

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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A duck boat accident in Missouri Thursday that left 17 people dead is one of several fatal tragedies involving duck boats since 1999.

At least 41 people have died in six duck boat incidents in the U.S. and Canada in the past 20 years. Causes include distracted driving as well as unavoidable “blind spots” for drivers because of the vehicle’s design, reported the Springfield News-Leader.

Some of the accidents have happened with boats manufactured by Ride the Ducks International, the same Branson, Missouri, company that operated the duck boat that capsized because of a storm Thursday.

Duck boats accidents happen on land, too. The vehicles are engineered to be amphibious — able to navigate both land and sea to help tourists get to know a city. But unfortunately, not all duck boat tours have ended on such a happy note.

On Land

The duck boat accident that affected the most people happened in Seattle in 2015 when a duck boat crashed into a bus, killing five bus passengers and injuring 69 people. The company operating the tour had been using World War II-era parts and was fined $500,000 because of the incident, reported the Springfield News-Leader in 2016.

A woman crossing a Philadelphia street was hit and killed by a duck boat in 2015, reported the Springfield News-Leader. The duck boat operator was affiliated with Ride the Ducks in Branson, the company running the tour that turned fatal on Thursday. This affiliate of Ride the Ducks stopped its duck boat tours in 2016.

A duck boat waiting behind a scooter at a red light in Boston accelerated too fast and flipped the scooter in 2016. The woman driving the scooter died, and her male passenger was taken to the hospital for his injuries. Neither were wearing helmets, reported the Boston Globe. (RELATED: Trump Gives Condolences To Missouri Boat Accident Victims)

On Water

Thirteen people died when the duck boat “Miss Majesty” sank in a lake in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1999, reported KARK. A mechanical malfunction made the boat go down after seven minutes in the water, trapping all but a few people under its canopy roof as it continued to sink.

A barge operator was driving distracted while using both a cellphone and a laptop when he plowed into a duck boat on Philadelphia’s Delaware River in 2010. The operator pleaded guilt to involuntary manslaughter for killing two Hungarian students, reported the Springfield News-Leader. The students’ families split a $15 million settlement from operators of both vessels involved in the crash, reported CNN. Other people injured in the collision split a $2 million settlement.

A pickup truck-turned-duck-boat called the “Lady Duck” went down in 2002, drowning four people including a mother and her two young children. Like in the Arkansas incident, they were trapped under the boat’s canopy. Eight people on the boat survived, reported CBC. Two years later, it was revealed that the boat had malfunctioning bilge pumps.

Non-Fatal Accidents

Other incidents involving duck boats include:

  • A duck boat company called The Yellow Duckmarine based in Liverpool, United Kingdom, had a couple of close calls. A crash involving one of its vehicles sent four people to the hospital in 2010. One of its duck boats sank while on the water in 2013, but fortunately no passengers drowned, reported the Springfield News-Leader.
  • A duck boat on the Thames River in London caught fire in 2013. All 30 passengers escaped.
  • A duck boat in Seattle dragged a motorcyclist caught in its undercarriage for an entire block in 2011. He was left with serious injuries including a crushed leg, reported the Springfield News-Leader.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Ride the Ducks of Branson via telephone but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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