Stone County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Selby and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced charges against Ride the Ducks Branson employees Kenneth Scott McKee, Charles Baltzell, and Curtis Lanham in relation to the sinking of Stretch Duck #7 on Table Rock Lake on July 19, 2018, which resulted in the deaths of 17 individuals.
According to the probable cause statement, on the afternoon of July 19, 2018, Stretch Duck #7 entered Table Rock Lake during a severe thunderstorm warning, encountered severe weather and rough winds, took on water, and eventually sunk resulting in the death of 17 people. The probable cause statement alleges that Scott McKee, the Captain of Stretch Boat #7, failed to exercise his duties as a licensed Captain by entering the lake during a severe thunderstorm warning and failed to follow policies and training by not having passengers affix flotation devices as the boat took on water. The statement also alleges that Charles Baltzell as Operations Supervisor and Curtis Lanham as General Manager failed to communicate weather conditions and cease operations during a severe thunderstorm warning.
Captain Scott McKee was charged with 17 counts of First Degree Involuntary Manslaughter, a Class C Felony, 5 counts of First Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class A felony, and 7 counts of First Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class D felony.
Operations Supervisor Charles Baltzell was charged with 17 counts of First Degree Involuntary Manslaughter, a Class C Felony.
General Manager Curtis Lanham was charged with 17 counts of First Degree Involuntary Manslaughter, a Class C Felony.
In total, 63 charges were filed against the three defendants.
These charges are merely accusations, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.