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Inspection into duck boat accident to see if rules were followed

Some people in Ohio may have heard of a duck boat accident that resulted in the death of 17 people, 11 of them from the same family. Among the dead were five children.

According to a Coast Guard official, an investigation will look into whether Coast Guard rules were violated. The Coast Guard issues an inspection certificate that specifies a wave height and wind speed that means a boat cannot go out on the water.

It is unclear whether the thunderstorm that caused the boat accident came on suddenly and whether the weather was being monitored sufficiently. This particular boat had some past problems. There was a steering issue in 2012 while passengers were on board, but the captain was able to get it back to shore. Between January and April of 2015, the Coast Guard did not allow the boat to operate because of what were called "hazardous conditions" although nothing more specific is known. In 2017, an inspector's report from a private service said the boat's engine and pumps might not work if the weather was bad. Ripley Entertainment, the operator, has offered to help with medical and funeral expenses, accommodations and travel for victims' families.

Companies have an obligation to keep customers safe. If there is evidence that negligence on the part of an individual or a company has resulted in someone's injury or death, that individual or the company may be liable. For example, in a case like this one, family members of people who were killed in the accident might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. If the lawsuit is successful, they may be compensated for expenses associated with the person's death as well as for the person's projected future income.

Source: Associated Press, "Duck boat probe will check if Coast Guard rules were ignored," 7/23/2018

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