Following the recent sinking of a tour boat at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., that resulted in 17 deaths, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., introduced legislation late last month to improve the safety of duck boats. The bill mandates that recommendations originally proposed by federal safety investigators after 13 people were killed when a duck boat sank on an Arkansas lake in 1999 be implemented.
“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 in a statement. “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 the 1999 duck boat accident in Arkansas. 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 month about the tragedy at Table Rock Lake, McCaskill noted that the full investigation of the incident 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 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.