Missouri’s junior senator says the deadly 2018 duck boat tragedy which killed 17 victims on southwest Missouri’s Table Rock Lake should never have occurred.

Missouri State Highway Patrol crews assist the U.S. Coast Guard during the duck boat recovery efforts on July 23, 2018 (file photo courtesy of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Twitter page)

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R) tells Missourinet that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made several recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard after a similar 1999 tragedy in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

“If the Coast Guard had implemented the NTSB’s recommendations from the late 1990’s, almost 20 years ago now, 20 years from the time of the accident, then this (Table Rock Lake incident) would not have happened,” Hawley says.

The 1999 Arkansas incident killed 13 of the 21 passengers on board.

Senator Hawley has filed legislation that would require amphibious passenger vessels to be equipped to stay afloat, in the event of flooding. His bill would also require additional life preservers, and would require duck boats to remove canopies. It also requires additional ways to pump water out.

Hawley, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says it’s time for the Coast Guard to act on the issue of duck boats. He says it’s critical to keeping Missourians and others safe.

“Over a year ago, I introduced legislation that would write these requirements and these protections into law,” says Hawley. “It is time for the Senate to act on that legislation, and I hope that they will.”

Hawley’s legislation is similar to one filed by former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). Hawley unseated McCaskill in Missouri’s 2018 Senate election.

Hawley’s letter to Coast Guard Admiral Karl Schultz reads, in part: “It is in your power to ensure ‘duck boat’ is not synonymous with ‘floating metal death trap.’

17 victims died in the Table Rock Lake incident, including nine from one family. The victims drowned when the vessel sank quickly, during a storm.

Click here to listen to the full interview between Brian Hauswirth and U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, which was recorded on May 21, 2020:

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