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Duck Boat Captain Indicted In Missouri Lake Accident That Killed 17 - NPR

A federal grand jury on Thursday handed up an indictment for criminal negligence and misconduct against the captain and operator of the duck boat that sank on Table Rock Lake in Missouri, killing 17 people over the summer.

Kenneth Scott McKee was piloting the amphibious boat when it sank in a sudden violent storm on July 19. He is charged with 17 counts of misconduct, negligence and inattention to duty by a ship's officer, U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison announced at a news conference.

"Each of the 17 counts in this indictment represents a life that was lost when Stretch Duck 7 sank while being piloted by Mr. McKee," Garrison said.

He added, "The indictment alleges that McKee failed to properly assess incoming severe weather, both prior to and after entering the water." The government alleges that the captain ignored warnings of approaching high winds and lightning and that he operated the vessel in conditions that exceeded the boat's limitations as regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Ride the Ducks Branson boat was capsized by powerful waves within approximately 35 minutes of leaving the terminal near the resort town of Branson. Seventeen of the 31 passengers and crew members aboard the tourist vessel died, including nine from the same family .

"There wasn't a whole lot of rain, but the wind was tremendous," KSMU Ozarks Public Radio reporter Jennifer Moore told NPR. The National Weather Service reported winds reached 65 mph.

Stretch Duck 7 was one of two vehicles in the water at the time the thunderstorm rolled in. Both struggled with the surging waves but the other eventually made it across the lake. The state attorney general suggested there were multiple opportunities wherein McKee could have also returned safely to shore.

Even in the case of the boat that made it to safety, Garrison remarked that the driver acted in a "grossly negligent manner."

Commercial vessels like the Ride the Ducks tourist boat are exempt from a state law that requires passengers age 7 and under to wear life jackets.

A preliminary review by the National Transportation Safety Board of the boat's digital video recorder system indicated that McKee conducted a safety briefing that included "the location of emergency exits as well as the location of the life jackets" approximately 10 minutes before "whitecaps rapidly appeared on the water and winds increased."

As NPR's Sasha Ingber reported :

"Tia Coleman, a survivor who lost nine family members , including her husband and three children, said at a weekend news conference that the captain told passengers they wouldn't need life jackets.

" 'He said, "Above you are your life jackets. There's three sizes." He says, "I'm going to show you where they are. But you won't need them, so no need to worry." So we didn't grab them.' "

When contacted, Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks Branson, declined to comment immediately.

The land and water boats were originally used by the U.S. military in World War II. In the ensuing decades they have been repurposed for tourist rides around the country.

Concerns about the boats' safety have been raised for decades. Nearly 20 years ago, the NTSB sounded the alarm after 13 people died when a duck boat sank in Arkansas. "Since 1999, 42 deaths have been associated with duck boat accidents," the AP reported.

Garrison said the investigation is ongoing. It is unclear if others will be indicted.

If convicted, McKee could face up to 10 years in federal prison without parole for each count, plus a $250,000 fine, officials said in a statement .

Source: www.npr.org

DIY Camo Paint Job: Turn an Old Kayak in to a New Duck Boat - Outdoor Life Magazine

With a little paint, and a bunch of elbow grease, you can make nearly any piece of equipment disappear into its surroundings.

Most commercial camo patterns are available in DIY stencil packs, but you don’t need to get that specific to trick ducks or other wildlife. Applying a random pattern with a sponge effectively breaks up your outline and goes on quickly and easily. As a bonus, it’s simple to repair when you inevitably gouge your boat on the rocks.

I’ve used a kayak in this video, but you can utilize the same process on your cooler or deer cart. I’ve used this method to rehab more old boats than I’ve told my wife about, and the paint jobs have held up to an incredible amount of abuse.

Step 1: Thoroughly wash the kayak to remove any grit that could interfere with paint adhesion. A pressure washer works well for this, but you can hand wash with a mild soap if you don’t have.

Step 2: Attach a paint-removal wheel to a cordless drill and rough up the surface at a low RPM. Dedicated sanders and grinders spin too fast, which generates heat that can weaken plastic's structural integrity. If the item is metal, use a medium grit sanding block (right around 120 is ideal). You want to give the surface some tooth, not smooth it over. Be sure to cover every square inch of exterior, paying special attention to corners and edges.

Step 3: Wipe the roughened surface with acetone. You need to remove any sanding dust, and more importantly, any grease or films that may be present. Be thorough to avoid adhesion problems down the line.

Step 4: If your item is plastic, spray the treated surface with an adhesion promoter in even bands using a side-to-side motion. Within one hour, apply the topcoat with an ultra-flat spray paint. Krylon Fusion works equally as well on plastic as it does on other mediums, making it a solid all-around pick. Apply two coats of the adhesion promoter and three coats of color.

Step 5: Finally, sponge a second (and third, if you desire) color over the primary coat. Dab it on in a random pattern, taking care not to go too heavy. If you're really hard on gear, end with a matte clear coat like Krylon 1311 for added durability.

Hide a Canoe: This technique works well on most plastic canoes, too, except for those made from Coleman's proprietary Ram-X material, which flexes too much to hold paint. If you're in that boat, get a large sheet of burlap, be creative with a fabric spray paint, throw the finished cover over the boat, and start shooting ducks.

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Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. Outdoor Life may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site.

Outdoorlife.com is part of the Field & Stream Network, a division of Bonnier Corporation.

Copyright © 2018 Outdoor Life. A Bonnier Corporation Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Source: www.outdoorlife.com

'Oldest Intact Shipwreck Known To Mankind' Found In Depths Of Black Sea - NPR

More than a mile beneath the surface of the Black Sea, shrouded in darkness, an ancient ship sat for millennia unseen by human eyes — until the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project happened upon its watery grave last year.

The team announced the find Tuesday, saying its discovery has been "confirmed as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind." Radiocarbon-dated to roughly 400 B.C., the trading vessel plied the waves in the days of Plato and Sophocles, when the city-states of ancient Greece had scattered colonies all around the Black Sea.

Since then, it has sat at a depth that more than doubles the height of the tallest skyscraper in the world . In water that deep, oxygen is hard to come by, and because of that, so too are the organic processes that help drive decomposition. That left the ship all but undisturbed until the research team discovered it — along with dozens of other shipwrecks — during an 800-square-mile survey of the seabed.

"A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible," Jon Adams , an archaeology professor at the University of Southampton and the group's principal investigator, said in a statement released Tuesday. "This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world."

The vase depicts a scene from The Odyssey , in which Odysseus is strapped to the mast as he passes the deadly sirens. Now, according to MAP, they know it also depicts a representation of real trading vessels used around the same era as their find.

"It's like another world," Helen Farr, a member of the expedition, told the BBC . "It's when the ROV [remote operated vehicle] drops down through the water column and you see this ship appear in the light at the bottom so perfectly preserved it feels like you step back in time."

But ancient Greece is not the only bygone era to reveal itself beneath the waves.

In three years of probing the Black Sea, the group says it has discovered more than 60 sunken ships — from ancient boats like the one announced Tuesday to ships of a more modern variety. That includes a 17th-century raiding fleet launched by the Cossacks , a people who had by that time settled north of the Black Sea, near the border of modern Russia and Ukraine.

The team is releasing a documentary on its findings Tuesday at the British Museum, offering a glimpse into what archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert called "an incredibly rich museum of human history."

"This wreck shows the unprecedented potential for preservation in the Black Sea, which has been a critical crossroads of world cultures for thousands of years," he told National Geographic . "It's an incredible find."

Source: www.npr.org









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