Missouri prosecutors filed state charges against three employees involved in a 2018 boat accident on a lake in the tourist town of Branson in which 17 people lost their lives.
Specifically, the boat’s captain, and two managers, face 17 counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter for taking the World War Two-style duck boat out in stormy weather, says Reuters.
Stone County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Selby and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced the charges, after a ruling by a federal judge that federal prosecutors must drop charges they had brought because they lacked jurisdiction.
Thirty-one people were onboarding the boat when hurricane-strength winds churned the waters of Branson’s Table Rock Lake on July 19, 2018.
Lawyers representing the captain shared a statement with local media saying they expected he would plead not guilty. The captain is facing additional charges of endangering the welfare of a child.
Survivors and relatives of those killed said the captain told passengers not to don life-jackets at the start of trip, which prosecutors said went against his training. In addition, prosecutors claim that the two managers failed to properly share news of the approaching storm and call off the trip.