After the news yesterday of indictments handed down by a federal grand jury in the wake of the Branson Ride the Ducks tragedy last year, the parent company of Ride the Ducks, Ripley Entertainment, has released a statement to Ozarks Independent.
Below is the entire statement emailed to us by Suzanne Smagala-Potts, the Public Relations Manager for Ripley Entertainment in regards to the indictments, settlements, and their commitment to the Branson area:
“We continue to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other agencies as they investigate the facts surrounding the unprecedented storm and resulting accident on Table Rock Lake that occurred last July.
We are committed to doing everything we can to help and support the community of Branson and those impacted by this accident. While the United States Attorney has decided to bring criminal charges as a result of the accident, all persons charged are entitled to a strong presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We have and will continue to offer support for all of our employees as this process moves forward.
From the day of the accident, we have worked with our partners in the community to help the victims and all those affected by the tragedy. While we know lives lost cannot be replaced, we have worked with the victims and their families and have reached settlement agreements with many individuals and families, and we continue to work with others.”
“From the day of the accident, the company has worked with victims and those most impacted to do as much as possible to help them. We have reached court-approved settlements with several families of the victims and are actively pursuing mediated resolutions with all others who were affected by the accident. Out of respect for the privacy of the families, we are not discussing settlement details.”
“We are committed to the community of Branson, and everyone who was affected by last July’s tragic accident. The Ride The Ducks building and property are a gateway to the economic engine of the community. To ensure its continued contribution to the community, we opened Branson Top Ops, to serve and encourage tourism, creating and supporting jobs for hardworking people who live and work here.
Top Ops is donating 10% of all admissions proceeds with a minimum of $100,000 to First Responders, specifically to Local Police, Fire Department, and EMS, who put their lives on the line to make the Branson community a safer place to live, work, and play. In addition, all First Responders and Military will be offered discounted admission at Branson Top Ops.”