Missouri opens criminal probe into deadly boat sinking

The Missouri attorney general's office says it has opened a criminal investigation into the circumstances of the tourist boat that sank on a Missouri lake, killing 17 people, including nine members of an Indianapolis family.

Attorney General Josh Hawley's office confirmed Monday that it has an open investigation under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act into the July 19 duck boat incident at Table Rock Lake.

His spokeswoman, Mary Compton, said in an email that they are working with investigators to determine the facts and whether any criminal charges are appropriate. The statement did not name any individuals or companies.

The announcement came after victims announced lawsuits against Ride the Ducks boat operators. An attorney for the Indianapolis family said he wants to ensure that duck boats are banned so no one else suffers the same grief. That federal lawsuit filed Sunday seeks $100 million in damages on behalf of two members of the Coleman family of Indianapolis who died.

Robert Mongeluzzi, a Philadelphia-based attorney, said Monday the family's priorities are to find out what happened and to make sure “no one ever dies again inside a death trap duck boat.” Mongeluzzi's law firm won a $17 million settlement after two Hungarian students drowned in a duck boat ride in Philadelphia in 2010.


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