Specifically,when the Ride the Ducks vessel was constructed in 1944, the military DUKW that became Stretch Duck 07 was fitted with an engine-driven Higgins bilge pump, which was capable of removing up to 250 gallons per minute.
Many years before the accident, the Higgins pump was changed out for three electric pumps capable of removing only 20-33 gallons per minute each.
These changes where approved by the US Coast Guard, under the condition that the vessel wouldn't operate in waves over two feet in height. However, the waves on the day of the accident were over four feet.
The vessel owner, Ripley Entertainment, stated that its employees followed the Coast Guard's two-foot wave height limit, when the vessel departed the dock.
Nevertheless, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning 20 minutes prior to Stretch Duck 07's departure, but the predicted high winds did not arrive until after the vessel was on the water.
In addition, the Coast Guard approval for the change took place before Ripley Entertainment owned Ride the Ducks Branson, and it covered multiple duck boats with similar retrofits.
Concerning the incident, on July 19, 2018, Stretch Duck 07 flooded and sank on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri.
16 passengers and one crewmember died; the victims included nine members of one family. The vessel's master, Kenneth Scott McKee, has been charged with multiple counts of negligence and misconduct resulting in death. Prosecutors contend that McKee failed to properly assess the weather before departure.
The vessel's operator, Ride the Ducks Branson, has closed for the 2019 season. Owner Ripley Entertainment is repurposing its location as a laser tag venue.