A federal grand jury has charged the captain of a duck boat that sank on Table Rock Lake in July, killing 17 people, with misconduct, negligence and inattention to duty.
Kenneth Scott McKee, who captained the Stretch Duck 7 boat on July 19, is accused of a multiple violations of federal law overseeing boat captains, including:
Not properly assessing incoming weather before taking the boat out on to water,
Operating the boat in conditions that violate the U.S. Coast Guard’s certificate of inspection,
Not telling passengers to use flotation devices,
Not speeding up to head to the nearest shore as severe weather approached,
Failing to raise the side curtains of the boat as its bilge alarm sounded as it took on water.
“Our entire community was shocked and saddened by the loss of 17 lives in this tragic event last summer,” said Timothy Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. “Today’s indictment alleges that the misconduct, negligence and inattention to duty by the ship’s captain caused or contributed to the loss of those lives.”
McKee’s attorney, J.R. Hobbs, had not yet seen the indictment and could not immediately provide comment.
McKee had been identified as a target of the federal investigation in an earlier court filing by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Thursday’s indictment is the first criminal charge arising from the Table Rock Lake catastrophe.
The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 6:32 p.m., specifically naming Table Rock Lake. The warning said winds in excess of 60 mph were possible. In reality, winds on the lake reached 73 mph — near hurricane force — with waves topping three feet.