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May 22, 2019

Duck boat owners settle first suit involving accident that killed 17

November 23, 2018
This July 23, 2018 photo shows a duck boat being raised four days after it sank in Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo. (Nathan Papes / AP)

The owners of the duck boat that sank in July near Branson, Missouri, killing 17, has settled its first lawsuit with family members of victims.

Terms of the settlement were kept confidential, but the three adult daughters of William Bright, 65, and his wife Janice Bright, 63, filed suit shortly after the horrific July 19 incident.

Michelle Chaffer, Rebekah Whittington and Christina Taylor claimed that Ripley Entertainment Inc., which owned the doomed Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle, along with Ride the Ducks International LLC; the captain of the vessel, and its on-land driver, who died when the vessel sank, were were negligent in the deaths of their parents.

The three other parties named in the suit will remain defendants, according to the Kansas City Star.

Janice and William Bright
Janice and William Bright (Obtained by the New York Daily News)

The Higginsville, Missouri couple were visiting Branson for their 45th wedding anniversary. An attorney for their three daughters told the newspaper that the settlement was finalized on Thanksgiving.

“Our people are satisfied,” Adam Graves told Kansas City Star. “They felt like they were really genuine in what they were doing…One of the first things Ripley said when they came into mediation was, ‘We are a family company, and we value family.’”

The couple’s daughters argued that Ripley Entertainment had enough warning that a storm was coming when it entered Table Rock Lake, where it sank just after 7 p.m. amid high winds and severe thunderstorms with 31 people on board.

Nine people from one Indianapolis family were among the 17 dead. There are several other pending state and federal lawsuits related to those losses.

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