Missouri’s junior senator is calling on his U.S. Senate colleagues on Capitol Hill to approve his legislation aimed at preventing a repeat of the deadly 2018 duck boat tragedy on southwest Missouri’s Table Rock Lake.

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)

17 people were killed in the incident, including nine from one family. The victims drowned when the vessel sank quickly, during a storm. The second anniversary of the tragedy was last week.

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R) tells Missourinet that the Senate has not acted on his bill.

“It is more vital today than ever. It would help prevent exactly the kind of tragedy that we saw on Table Rock Lake,” Hawley says.

Hawley’s legislation would require amphibious passenger vessels to be equipped to stay afloat, in the event of flooding. The legislation would also require duck boats to remove canopies, and would require additional life preservers.

Hawley describes the legislation as tough and important.

“It would impose new security requirements on every single duck boat in our state and nationally. It would require new inspections, it would require new reporting efforts and standards, and put those in place,” says Hawley.

He says the tragedy never should have happened, because the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made several recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard after a similar 1999 tragedy in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R) has introduced the same bill as Hawley. During last week’s second anniversary, he called for the bill’s passage.

“Today we remember the 17 victims who lost their lives in the duck boat tragedy at Table Rock Lake, and the loved ones who are missing them every day. We owe it to these families to do everything we can to make sure a tragedy like this one never happens again,” Senator Blunt’s statement reads, in part.

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