WASHINGTON – Following the recent sinking of a tour boat at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., that resulted in the death of 17 people, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today introduced legislation to improve the safety of duck boats, mandating recommendations originally proposed by federal safety investigators after 13 people were killed when a duck boat sank on an Arkansas lake in 1999.
“Nearly 20 years ago following a similar incident, recommendations were made to help prevent tragedies like we experienced in Branson but they were largely ignored.” McCaskill said. “It’ll take some time before we know exactly what went wrong in Branson, but there’s absolutely no reason to wait to take this commonsense step.”
McCaskill’s legislation would put into law the recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board following a 1999 accident in Arkansas in which 13 people died when a duck boat sunk. Those recommendations included requiring amphibious passenger vessels to be equipped to stay afloat in the event of flooding, and additional interim measures such as removal of canopies and increased inspections until all vessels are upgraded.
In a speech on the Senate floor last week about the tragedy at Table Rock Lake, McCaskill noted that the full investigation of the incident at Table Rock is expected to take a year or longer, but that Congress shouldn’t wait when there are steps that can be taken now based on past recommendations. Following the tragedy in Branson, McCaskill met personally with members of the Missouri Highway Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board, and those assisting in the search and rescue and family assistance.
A copy of McCaskill’s legislation is available online HERE.