Duck Boat tragedy

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by fallguy, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    What material is the amphibious vehicle body made of ? Steel ? Certainly they'd have been rust buckets in quick time near salt water, if so.
  2. ImaginaryNumber
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    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    DUKW at the Eden Camp museum, England

    The DUKW was built around the GMC AFKWX, a cab-over-engine (COE) version of the GMC CCKW six-wheel-drive military truck, with the addition of a watertight hull and a propeller. It was powered by a 269.5 cu in (4 l) GMC Model 270 straight-six engine. A five-speed overdrive transmission drove a transfer case for the propeller, then a two-speed transfer case to drive the axles. The propeller and front axle were selectable from their transfer case. A power take-off on the transmission drove an air-compressor and winch.[10] It weighed 13,000 lb (5,900 kg) empty and operated at 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) on road and 5.5 knots (6.3 mph; 10.2 km/h) on water.[11] It was 31 feet (9.45 m) long, 8 feet 3 inches (2.51 m) wide, 7 feet 2 inches (2.18 m) high with the folding-canvas top down[11] and 8 feet 9 inches (2.67 m) high with the top up.[1]

    Rear view of a DUKW preserved at the Fort Lewis Military Museum, Washington. The propeller tunnel, propeller, and rudder can be seen (2009)

    It was not an armored vehicle, being plated with sheet steel between 1/16 and 1/8 inches (1.6–3.2 mm) thick to minimize weight. A high-capacity bilge pump system kept it afloat if the thin hull was breached by holes up to 2 inches (51 mm) in diameter. One in four DUKWs mounted a .50-caliber Browning heavy machine gun on a ring mount.[12]

    The DUKW was the first vehicle to allow the driver to vary the tire pressure from inside the cab. The tires could be fully inflated for hard surfaces such as roads and less inflated for softer surfaces, especially beach sand.[13] This added to its versatility as an amphibious vehicle. This feature is now standard on many military vehicles.[14]

    DUKW - Wikipedia


    LARC-V (Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo, 5 ton), is an aluminium-hulled amphibious cargo vehicle capable of transporting 5 tons. It was developed in the United States during the 1950s, and is used in a variety of auxiliary roles to this day.


    LARC-V - Wikipedia


    Duck tours, or DUKW tours, are tours that take place on purpose-built amphibious tour buses or military surplus DUKWs and LARC-Vs. Duck tours are primarily offered as tourist attractions in harbor, river and lake cities.

    Duck tour - Wikipedia


    see also
    LARC-LX - Wikipedia

    LARC-XV - Wikipedia
  3. JamesG123
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    I was glad to see that the Duck tour they have at the USS Alabama memorial was still operating. Looked like a good time and didn't appear to be killing anyone.
  4. Wavewacker
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    Wavewacker Senior Member

    Ok, first, while the drivers and captains may be young and inexperienced, such was not the case in this accident, the driver was 73, the captain was 55+.
    There was no pump or valve problem, all worked, they just could not keep up with the amount of water coming in.
    The issue, cause was due to the design of the canopy, people cannot get out except through the boarding hatch/ladder, which is raised and locked underway.
    If you cannot get out through a window then you are sucked down with the vessel.

    Looking back, as an arm chair captain, when the storm came up they were closer to an island that has nice landing beaches, the duck could have beached safely, I've been on it many times. I grew up on Table Rock and know that area very well, my cabin is on the other side of the hill in the background on the main channel.

    As to weather, the captain knew what the forecast was, he radioed the office before launching as is policy, he was told to go ahead. 2 headed out about the same time and one made it back in. The driver died, the captain survived.

    Was there negligence? You bet there was!

    Design of the canopy and windows.
    A passenger asked about life jackets, the captain said "you won't need them" (he was probably right as you couldn't get out wearing one) this is from a survivor's interview.
    They could have beached the boats, but understand that corporate mindset of company policy of only being allowed to enter or exit at designated points, too bad that over ruled logic and common sense.
    Perhaps this won't come out, but these duck drivers get a little competitive of beating the other guy and it's fun for passengers at time, you can see one duck overtaking the other and it was too fast for conditions, (The storm was not at its peak at that time) the boat passed made it in.
    The captain has the last word, not some office manager, he should not have gone out, the storm was quick and passed in minutes, they could have waited on the parking lot.
    Long before water started coming in life jackets should have been issued and exits opened.

    More than one suit has been filed, one for 100 million, another for undetermined amounts. I will be very surprised if criminal charges are not brought!!!

    One family from Il lost 9. Passengers are from all over the country even the world, not just Missourians.

    Peak gusts were reported as high as 70 mph, I have never seen that lake as rough as it was.

    It was horrible.
  5. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    The problems with the vessel as a passenger/charter vessel are numerous.

    As JamesG said, no positive flotation.

    The exhaust is misplaced.

    The canopy prevents exit.

    They are certainly underpowered if they can't keep way in a 65mph blow.

    If I came up to any regulatory agency and tried to get a dukw or even a dukx y or z certified as a charter vessel; they'd laugh me out of the place.

    How is it a former head of the ntsb can call for the grounding of these and it not happen?

    Corporate stupidity. The same stupidity that resulted in an old skipper AND a captain not stopping the trip, not heading for a reachable port, or not disembarking passengers to open sea in lifevests. The ferry incident in Korea bears resemblance; although the sea there was too cold for extended survival in pfds.

    If there is a single exit, how long does it take to disembark 31 passengers at even 5 seconds each.

    These things are a joke. There needs to be significant changes to them.
  6. Wavewacker
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    Wavewacker Senior Member

    Agreed fallguy, and the answer to your questions boils down to politics.
  7. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Companies use 1851 law to deny liability in duck boat tragedy that killed 17
    The companies, Branson Duck Vehicles and Ripley Entertainment, cited an 1851 maritime law to limit or eliminate liability for the tragedy that killed 17 people in July, according to Tia Coleman's lawyers.

    In a filing in federal court in Missouri, the defendants denied negligence in the sinking of the boat. But the filing said that if a court does find negligence, their liability is zero. That's because "the Vessel was a total loss and has no current value. No freight was pending on the Vessel."

    In July, the Springfield News-Leader — which like the Indianapolis Star, is a member of the USA Today Network — looked at the 1851 law, the Shipowner's Limitation of Liability Act, which limits damages to the salvaged value of the sunken vessel.

    "The law was intended to bolster a fledgling maritime shipping industry," maritime lawyer Daniel Rose told the newspaper. "Congress was trying to encourage people to buy vessels and improve the maritime system. This was 1850, there was no insurance for maritime vessels. The incentive was that if you go ahead and buy a vessel, we're going to protect you if anything goes wrong.

    "Fast-forward two centuries, it’s still on the books. It comes up in every one of these major high-profile disasters."

    Companies use 1851 law to deny liability in duck boat tragedy that killed 17
  8. JamesG123
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    They will still get them for "wrongful death" or some such. Because accidents don't just happen anymore.
  9. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    The US tort system is a hand me down from England.

    Very litigious.

    In this case, the operator clearly never considered the vessels inability in even a four foot sea state and never considered escape. The opportunities to prevent this 'accident' were many. From grounding day of, to vessel design to disembarking in life vests, from positive buoyancy foams to crew training. The skipper himself did not realize how unsafe this vessel was.

    I stand by my earlier assertion they all be grounded which is shared by the former head of the NTSB.

    As for accidents 'happening', spilled milk is one thing, losing almost the entire manifest is something else; perhaps criminal.

    I enjoy almost every post of yours James; here, we will never agree.

  10. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
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    BlueBell Ahhhhh...

    Not sure why anyone would speculate with such certainty at this point...

    I've been a commercial mariner for 28 years and unless each passenger signed
    a stellar waiver designed to wave even liability, the company is on the hook.
    These people paid their money and boarded in good faith.
    Only time will tell...
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