Duck Boat tragedy: Stone County Prosecutor, Missouri Attorney General file charges

Local News

FILE – In this July 23, 2018 file photo, a duck boat that sank in Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., is raised after it went down the evening of July 19 after a thunderstorm generated near-hurricane strength winds, killing 17 people. The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, released a “Safety Recommendation Report” on the accident. The NTSB says the Coast Guard has repeatedly ignored safety recommendations that could have made tourist duck boats safer and potentially prevented the accident. (Nathan Papes/The Springfield News-Leader via AP, File)

BRANSON, Mo.– Stone County’s Prosecuting Attorney Matt Selby and Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced charges against three people related to the sinking of a Duck Boat on Table Rock Lake in 2018.

In a news release dated July 16, 2021, Selby and Schmitt announced charges against Kenneth Scott McKee, Charles Baltzel, and Curtis Lanham. 17 people died on July 19, 2018 when Stretch Duck #7 sank during severe weather and rough winds.

The news release and probable cause statement state Scott McKee, the Captain of the boat should not have taken the boat on the lake during a severe thunderstorm warning. It also accuses McKee of failing to follow policies by not having passengers put on floatation devices as the boat took on water.

Charles Baltzell was the Operations Supervisor of Ride the Ducks. Curtis Lanham was the General Manager. They are accused of failing to communicate severe weather conditions and failing to call off operations during a severe thunderstorm warning.

McKee is charged with 17 counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter, five counts of first-degree class A felony endangering the welfare of a child, and seven counts of class A first-degree felony endangering the welfare of a child. Baltzell and Lanham are charged with 17 counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter each. In all, 63 charges were filed.

Details of the charges are outlined in the felony complaint.

In December of 2020, a federal judge dismissed charges against McKee, Baltzell, and Lanham.

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