A wrongful death lawsuit seeking $100 million in damages has been filed against the owners and operators of the duck boat that sank last week on Table Rock Lake, killing 17 people.
The federal lawsuit was filed Sunday on behalf of two members of an Indiana family who lost nine relatives when the boat sank Thursday, July 19th on Table Rock Lake in Branson. Others killed were from Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas.
The lawsuit accuses Ride the Ducks of Branson owner Ripley Entertainment and others of ignoring bad weather warnings that day and of knowing that design flaws made the boats susceptible to sinking.
Attorney Robert Mongeluzzi said the family sought his firm out because the firm has litigated previous wrongful death cases involving duck boats including two Hungarian students who drowned in one in Philadelphia. The firm has repeatedly called for duck boats to be banned, he said.
The family is filing the lawsuit for two reasons, he said: one to get the answers to questions they have asked and the other to have duck boats banned so that no one else will die.
Mongeluzzi, who called the vehicles "death traps" said you are doomed whether or not you have a life jacket on, if the boat sinks. Because of the canopies that are attached to the boats, he claims life jackets just trap people inside the boats after they become trapped.
"Since 1999, there have been 42 deaths associated with duck boats," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.