Coast Guard Refers Duck Boat Case For Criminal Investigation

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has referred the investigation into last month’s deadly sinking of a Missouri tourist boat to federal prosecutors.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Lisa Novak on Tuesday confirmed a report that the case was referred to the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas City on Aug. 13.

Don Ledford of the U.S. attorney’s office says the referral is “to consider a potential criminal investigation and federal prosecution.”

The accident occurred July 19 at Table Rock Lake near Branson. An amphibious duck boat sank amid strong winds, killing 16 passengers and a crew member. Fourteen people survived.

The Missouri attorney general’s office also is conducting a criminal investigation for possible violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

The duck boat attraction owner, Ripley Entertainment, says it is cooperating with the investigations.