Three men charged in the 2018 Duck Boat tragedy to appear in court this week

Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 1:44 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The three men charged in the death of 17 people in the 2018 Duck Boat tragedy at Table Rock Lake will appear in court this week.

According to court documents Captain Kenneth Scott McKee and two supervisors, Curtis Lanham and Charles Baltzell, are all scheduled for preliminary hearings on Tuesday, January 10, and Wednesday, January 11.

In April, original charges against the three men were dropped by a Stone County judge. Stone County Judge Alan Blankenship ruled the unique characteristics of the boat led to it rapidly sinking. He also said the staff was aware of the storm, but there is no evidence they were aware of the storm’s “gust front.”

Two days later, Missouri Attorney General’s Office refiled 63 criminal charges against the three employees of the former Ride the Ducks.

Captain McKee faces 17 involuntary manslaughter charges and 12 endangering the welfare of a child-death of a child charges. Lanham and Baltzell each face 17 involuntary manslaughter charges.

On July 19, 2018, a Stretch Duck 7 duck boat with 31 people on board capsized and sank in stormy weather on Table Rock Lake.

17 people died in the duck boat accident
17 people died in the duck boat accident

Sixteen passengers, including nine from the same family and one crew member driving the boat, drowned that night, leading to one of the deadliest boating accidents in United States history.

In their initial assessment, authorities blamed thunderstorms and winds that approached hurricane strength. The duck boat sank under high waves while winds around the area reached up to 70 miles per hour that day.

Investigators say Ride the Ducks had plenty of warning about the severe weather, but the boat still launched more than 20 minutes after a thunderstorm warning was issued for Table Rock Lake.

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