The owners and operators of a duck boat that sank in Missouri, killing 17 people, put passengers’ lives at risk by going out to water when severe thunderstorms were predicted, lawyers involved in a $100 million federal lawsuit argued Monday.
“For 20 years, we have known that duck boats are death traps. It was proven yet again in devastating fashion in Branson, Missouri,” attorney Robert Mongeluzzi said during a news conference Monday morning.
“It is clear that they knew severe weather was coming and they tried to beat the storm by going on water first rather than refunding the 40 bucks that each of these people paid putting their lives at risk,” he said, later adding. “This was not in any way a storm that came out of nowhere.”
The suit was filed Sunday on behalf of an Indiana family who lost nine family member when the duck boat capsized during a thunderstorm on July 19 near Branson, Missouri. The wrongful death suit was filed by several family members on behalf of the estates of Ervin Coleman, 76, and Maxwell Ly, 2, who were killed.
Five children were among the 17 killed, authorities have said, and another 14 were injured.
Mongeluzzi said the family wants to know what happened, “Why did their loved ones die? And more importantly they wan to make sure that no one ever dies again inside a death trap duck boat.”
The suit alleges the owners and operators put profit over people’s lives.
“This tragedy was the predictable and predicted result of decades of unacceptable, greed-driven, and willful ignorance of safety by the Duck Boat industry in the face of specific and repeated warnings that their Duck Boats are death traps for passengers and pose grave danger to the public on water and on land,” the suit said, no
This article originally appeared on NBC