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Feds open criminal investigation into Missouri duck boat sinking

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The duck boat sinking that resulted in 17 deaths on a lake outside Branson, Mo., has taken a new turn. CNN reports that the owners of the company that operated the duck boat, Ride the Ducks Branson, is now the subject of a federal criminal investigation. The U.S. Coast Guard determined that the 17 deaths on July 19 resulted from "misconduct, negligence or inattention to the duties" by the captain of the duck boat.

On Wednesday, the US government attached a motion to the civil cases that survivors and family members have filed against Ride the Ducks Branson, asking that federal investigators be allowed to talk to witnesses and participants in the case.

The news site reported that investigators are also looking at another duck-boat captain and Ride the Ducks Branson officials. Several investigations into the July 19 incident are also ongoing. The National Transportation Safety Board is determining what caused the sinking. The state of Missouri is also investigating the incident, while looking into criminal liability.

The boat, called “Stretch Duck 7,” carried 31 people, including 29 passengers and two crew. "The vessel sank in approximately 15 feet of water and came to rest on the lake floor at a depth of 70 feet," noted a NTSB report of August 8. 

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