Branson disaster proof that duck boats should be docked

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July 24, 2018 - 11:00 PM

Mourners gather in the parking lot of the Ride the Ducks offices in Branson, Mo., during a candle light vigil on Friday for the victims of the Branson duck boat tragedy at Table Rock Lake. John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS

Here’s the bottom line on those cute-until-they’re-not duck boats of the kind that 17 people just died in on Table Rock Lake near Branson: They should all stay on dry land until we’re sure they’re safe, and that may never happen.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about this tragedy, including why the boat was out on such choppy water and why the owners and operators of Ride the Ducks Branson had equipped it with the same kind of canopy that was cited as a factor in the all-too-similar 1999 deaths of 13 people in a duck boat on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Others deaths involving duck boats, on both land and water, have occurred in Seattle, Boston and Philadelphia, where Ride the Ducks closed operations two years ago.

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