Charges Dismissed in Table Rock Lake Duck Boat Tragedy

A federal judge has dismissed neglect and misconduct charges leveled against three former Ride the Ducks employees in connection with the 2018 Table Rock Lake sinking.

Seventeen people died when a duck boat was swamped in bad weather and high waves. Fourteen people survived the sinking.

U.S. Magistrate David Rush ruled that because Table Rock Lake is not considered a “navigable waterway”, or a waterway that supports commerce, the federal government does not have jurisdiction to prosecute a case.

Kenneth Scott McKee, the boat’s captain, Ride the Ducks General Manager Curtis Lanham, and the manager on duty Charles Baltzell were facing charges of neglect and misconduct in the sinking. McKee also was charged with failing to assess weather before entering the lake and not telling passengers to use protective flotation devices.

The dismissal is not a surprise to many court observers, as the Judge mentioned in September a recommendation that charges be dropped. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled in April that both the owners of Ride the Ducks and the Coast Guard were responsible for the accident.

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