KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The families who were affected by the tragic capsizing of the Ride the Ducks vehicle that killed 17 people are now beginning to speak out. Two separate lawsuits have now been filed against Ripley Entertainment, the company that owns Ride the Ducks.
On Monday, the three daughters of William and Janice Bright, a Missouri couple who died when the duck boat capsized, filed a wrongful death case with the state, seeking $125,000 in damages.
The Coleman Family, who lost nine of their 11 family members that were on duck at the time of the tragedy, has also taken legal action. The Indianapolis family filed a federal suit on Sunday against Ripley Entertainment for $100 million.
The Colemans, who are filing on behalf of 76-year-old Ervin Coleman and 2-year-old Maxwell Coleman, said in their lawsuit that 'this tragedy was the predictable and predicted result of decades of unacceptable, greed-driven, and willful ignorance of safety by the duck boat industry in the face of specific and repeated warnings that their duck boats are death traps for passengers and pose grave danger to the public on water and on land.'
The family stated that this lawsuit is more than just about money. It's about seeking justice and more importantly, change.
"They want to know what happened. Why did their loved ones die? And more importantly, they want to make sure that no one ever dies inside a deathtrap duck boat," said Robert Mongeluzzi, the Colemans' attorney.
Ripley Entertainment responded Monday to the lawsuits stating:
We remain deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred in Branson, and we are supportive of the affected families. The investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is still underway and no conclusions have been reached. We cannot comment at this time.
At the press conference held in Kansas City on Monday, the Colemans' attorneys said they will be representing other family members who lost loved ones in the tragedy, and more lawsuits will be coming in the near future.
Attorney General Josh Hawley also announced on Monday that he has opened a criminal investigation into the incident as he attempts to determine if a crime was committed or if criminal charges should be pursued.