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Former chair of NTSB, others call for ban on duck boat tours

Posted at 1:49 AM, Jul 23, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The former head of the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for an end to duck boat tours in light of last week's tragedy on Table Rock Lake, according to USA TODAY

Former NTSB chairman Jim Hall was in charge of the agency during a similar duck boat sinking that killed 13 people in 1999 near Hot Springs, Arkansas. 

"My feeling after seeing this one is that the only thing to do in the name of public safety is to ban them," he told the outlet.

Hall isn't alone.

Robert Mongeluzzi is a Philadelphia attorney who represented the families of two people killed in 2010, when a barge collided with a Ride the Ducks boat on the Delaware River. The tragedy led to a $17 million settlement. 

In a statement to KSHB's NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, Mongeluzzi called the vessels "death traps operating on land and in the water."

"After this tragedy, we again ask, what does it take for tour operators to realize that they cannot value profit more than human life and public safety?" he said. 

Mongeluzzi's colleague, Andrew Duffy, also emphasized safety concerns in an interview with NBC 10. 

"When they sink quickly, they pull passengers down with them, because the canopy itself entraps them and doesn't allow them to escape," Duffy said. 

That same danger was flagged by the NTSB after the duck boat sank near Hot Springs in 1999. The agency recommended removing canopies, because they could trap passengers inside the boats.

Why changes were never made is now part of the investigation in Branson.

"We will review the previous recommendations that have been made by the NTSB, and we will conduct this investigation to ensure that recommendations are made to ensure the safety of these vehicles and see how the recommendations have been handled in the past," NTSB spokesman Brian Young said. 

Read more about other incidents involving duck boats here