Company says it was told duck boats were OK before sinking

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — An entertainment company that owned a duck boat that sank on a Missouri lake last summer is disputing that an independent inspector told it that its vehicles did not comply with a government standard.

Steve Paul says Ripley Entertainment hired him in 2017 before it bought the boats from Missouri company Ride the Ducks International to determine whether they met the Department of Transportation’s regulations. Ripley says Paul passed the boats in his report.

Paul has said he inspected 24 of the 40 boats that Ride the Ducks was selling and that all of them were deficient under the department’s standard because of the location of their tailpipes.

Florida-based Ripley ultimately purchased 22 of the boats in December 2017. One sank in Branson last July, killing 17 people.

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