BRANSON, Mo.- A Stone County judge will rule in early 2022 on whether to proceed to trial in the case of three Branson duck boat employees.

Testimony and evidence was heard Thursday surrounding the 2018 Branson duck boat tragedy on Table Rock Lake that killed 17 people.

Two Ride the Ducks employees spoke during the hearing, one of whom was operating another duck boat the same day. He talked about how dangerous the conditions were on the lake.

After hearing that testimony and the defense attorney’s argument that the incident was an act of nature, prosecutors asked the judge if they could have until the end of 2021 to prepare and submit arguments in response to the defense.

The judge agreed and will announce after the first of the year a date rule on to dismiss the charges or decide if there is enough evidence for a trial.

A total of 63 felony charges have been filed in Stone County against the captain of the ship, the general manager, and one supervisor.