Church closings & delays

Man who jumped into lake after seeing boat sink files lawsuit against Ride the Ducks

BRANSON, Mo. -- A witness who jumped into Table Rock Lake when he saw a Duck Boat take on too much water and begin to sink filed a lawsuit against the company Wednesday.

Gregory Harris, who worked on the Branson Belle, claims he was injured when he jumped into the water and helped rescue victims.

According the lawsuit, Harris saw the Duck Boat struggling then heard someone say it had gone down and to grab life jackets.

"Heedless of his own safety, Greg jumped into the wind-driver surge of the lake to try and rescue anyone he could," the lawsuit said.

The first woman Harris got to was face down in the water. He pulled her head out of the water and swam her to the nearby Branson Belle where people on board helped pull her out.

He then helped people on the boat pull a man out of the water. That man was still alive.

Unfortunately, Harris did not get to the next man fast enough, court documents say. That man already was already dead by the time they got him on the boat.

Harris continued his rescue efforts and the next women he helped survived.

But then things took a tragic turn when Harris tried to pull a child from the water. That child was already dead by the time Harris got to him.

The lawsuit said, "despite the growing horror and anguish," Harris tried to continue, but "Greg and the others were told not to try and risk another rescue attempt as these individuals had already been determined to have died."

Out of respect for the victims, Harris then tried to find something to cover the bodies that they pulled from the water. .

According to an attorney representing Harris, he injured his right arm, lower back and knocked a crown out of his mouth. In addition he has survivor's guilt and is battling PTSD after the tragedy.

His attorney also said he had to quit his job at the Branson Belle following this incident.

There were 31 people on the boat  when it sank. Seventeen people died. Fourteen were injured.

"The Duck Boat sank only a few minutes from land, and safety," the lawsuit said in part.  "Had defendants and/or each of them made the decision to turn back soon, they would have likely been able to save the lives of the passengers, and avoid injuries."

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