Salt River Journal

Branson to honor 17 killed in tour boat accident

In this July 20, 2018, file photo, a duck boat sits idle in the parking lot of Ride the Ducks, an amphibious tour operator in Branson, Mo. City officials are planning a memorial to the 17 people who lost their lives in a July 19 accident.
Associated Press
Posted: Jan. 14, 2019 5:35 pm

The Missouri city where 17 people died in a tour boat accident last year plans to honor the victims somehow but is still determining how to do so.

A Branson businessman in September proposed building a lighthouse-shaped monument to the victims of the July 19 "duck boat" accident on nearby Table Rock Lake. But some community members felt the monument should be closer to the lake, which is just outside of the popular tourist city. Local news reports said some people worried that erecting a monument would serve as a grim reminder of the tragedy.

Aldermen voted last week to develop a memorial plan by January 2020. Mayor Karen Best said the delay is so the city can come up with the best possible tribute.

"We housed a lot of the families (after the accident), so we got to be close to the families as members of the city and staff," Best said. "We are just so committed to making sure that what we do provides honor and tribute to them."

The amphibious vehicle operated by Ride the Ducks Branson first took tourists on a trip through the city known for its country music concerts before it entered the lake. The vessel capsized moments later when a severe storm blew in.

The boat's captain, Kenneth Scott McKee, was indicted in November. He is accused of failing to properly assess incoming weather before entering the water, failing to tell passengers to use flotation devices, and other violations of federal laws overseeing captains.


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