Coast Guard refers duck boat case for criminal investigation

ST. LOUIS — The U.S. Coast Guard has referred the investigation into last month’s deadly sinking of a Missouri tourist boat to federal prosecutors.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Lisa Novak on Tuesday confirmed a report first published by the Kansas City Star that the case was referred to the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas City on Aug. 13.

Don Ledford of the U.S. attorney’s office says the referral is “to consider a potential criminal investigation and federal prosecution.”

The accident occurred July 19 at Table Rock Lake near Branson. An amphibious duck boat sank amid strong winds, killing 16 passengers and a crew member. Fourteen people survived.

The Missouri attorney general’s office also is conducting a criminal investigation for possible violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

The duck boat attraction owner, Ripley Entertainment, says it is cooperating with the investigations.

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