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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Duck boat hit by barge in Philly......

    PHILADELPHIA—An amphibious sightseeing boat that stalled in the Delaware River was knocked over by an oncoming barge Wednesday, spilling 37 people overboard and leaving two passengers unaccounted for after a frantic rescue effort.

    Tweet 5 people Tweeted thisSubmit to DiggdiggYahoo! Buzz ShareThis The six-wheeled "duck boat" had driven into the water just after 2:30 p.m. and suffered a mechanical problem and a small fire, officials said. It was struck about 10 minutes later by a barge used to transport sludge, then sank.

    Searchers were looking for a 16-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man believed to have been aboard the vessel, which can travel seamlessly on land and water, police Lt. Frank Vanore said. Several people went to hospitals, but there were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

    "It's remarkable that we're only looking for two people," Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

    Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said divers found the duck boat in water about 50 feet deep.

    Vanore said crews would not attempt to recover the vehicle until Thursday at the earliest.

    There were 35 passengers and two crew members aboard the boat, said Coast Guard Senior Chief Bud Holden. Coast Guard boats assisted by police and fire crews worked to rescue people from the water, he said. A spokeswoman for the duck boat company said that 39 people were aboard, and the reason for the discrepancy wasn't clear.

    "A barge went into us," one of the duck boat's passengers, Sandy Cohen, told WPVI-TV. "We had engine trouble, so we were just waiting for somebody else to come and tow us."

    Bystanders along the waterfront screamed as the barge hit the boat, said a security guard who was patrolling the waterfront.

    "I whirled around as the barge began to run over the duck boat," said Larry Waxmunski, a guard for the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. "After the barge hit it -- it almost looked like slow motion -- the duck boat began to turn over."

    "Fortunately, you began to see the life vests popping up almost immediately," Waxmunski said. He then saw police boats beginning to pluck the tourists out of the water.

    Television footage showed at least five people being pulled from the water wearing life vests in an area of the river near the Old City neighborhood, popular with tourists. Helicopter footage showed people in life vests being helped from boats on to a dock and at least one person on a gurney.

    Terri Ronna, 45, of Oakland, N.J., said she was on a ferry going from Camden, N.J., across the river to Philadelphia when the captain announced that there was someone overboard from another ship and that they were going to rescue him.

    "We were not even halfway over when they said there was somebody overboard and we were going to get them," Ronna said. "There were people all over; we could see all these orange life vests."

    At a waterfront news conference Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Michael Nutter said authorities were trying to figure out exactly what happened.

    "This is a very serious situation, and we are going to do everything we can to get to the bottom of it," he said.

    Hahnemann University Hospital spokeswoman Coleen Cannon said that 10 people were taken there, but two refused treatment. Patients being evaluated included two teens, two adults and three children; she said she didn't have information on their conditions.

    One crew member from the duck boat was rescued by the ferry that the Delaware River Port Authority was operating on its scheduled route between Philadelphia and Camden, authority spokesman Ed Kasuba said.

    Officials said the barge was owned by the city and being directed by a tugboat owned by K-Sea Transportation Partners of East Brunswick, N.J.

    The city Water Department uses the barge to transport sludge from a sewage plant in northeast Philadelphia to a recycling plant down river, said Maura Kennedy, a Nutter spokeswoman. The city has a contract with K-Sea, which operates the tugboat that pulled the unmanned and unpowered barge.

    The duck boat was operated by Ride the Ducks, which also operates tours in San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Newport, R.I., and Branson, Mo.

    A spokeswoman at the company's headquarters in Norcross, Ga., said it would issue a statement when it had more information.

    Holden, of the Coast Guard, said the duck boats are inspected annually, but he did not know when the boat involved in Wednesday's crash was last inspected.

    Another Coast Guard spokesman, Thomas Peck, said neither craft was in a wrong lane.

    A duck boat sank at Hot Springs, Ark., on May 1, 1999, killing 13 of the 21 people aboard after its bilge pump failed. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed inadequate maintenance and recommended that duck boats have backup flotation devices.

    In June 2002, four people were killed when an amphibious tour boat, the Lady Duck, sank in the Ottawa River near Canada's Parliament.

    Some of the vehicles are amphibious military personnel carriers dating back to World War II that have been restored and reconditioned for peacetime use. Known by their original military acronym as DUKWs, they were first introduced in the tourism market in 1946 in the Wisconsin Dells, where about 120 of the vessels now operate.

    As of 2000, there were more than 250 refurbished amphibious vehicles in service nationwide, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

  2. #2
    Easily Distracted Platinum Member Racegirl3's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    Bucyrus, Ohio
    So.... they were a sitting duck I just saw it on the news and was tryin to figure out how that happens. The news failed to state the duck boat had issues. They made it sound like they just ran into the barge. I cant imagine how scary that had to be to be on that boat and see the barge coming at you and not be able to move. Wow. God Bless the families of the two still missing. How sad.....
    Bad Girls Make Good Company

  3. #3
    SORE MEMBER Platinum Member Wobble's Avatar
    My Boats:
    SeaDoo RXP & RXP-X, Stryker Equalizer 28, Eliminator Daytona Jet
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    Apr 2004
    29°50'49.74"N 95° 5'17.55"W.......TEXAS
    Quote Originally Posted by Racegirl3 View Post
    So.... they were a sitting duck I just saw it on the news and was trying to figure out how that happens. The news failed to state the duck boat had issues. They made it sound like they just ran into the barge. I cant imagine how scary that had to be to be on that boat and see the barge coming at you and not be able to move. Wow. God Bless the families of the two still missing. How sad.....
    This is a good example of why every boat should carry a VHF radio.

    When my out-drive twisted off it's vertical shaft in the Houston ship channel, I had a container ship coming from one direction and a tug pushing 3 barges from the other.

    A quick call on channel 16 and both the ship and tug knew my situation, within 2 minutes another tug swooped in and took us under tow.

    All the cell phones in the world wont reach the ship bearing down on you in an emergency.

  4. #4
    My Boats:
    Formula 303 SR-1
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    Jul 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by Wobble View Post
    This is a good example of why every boat should carry a VHF radio.
    I'd be shocked if that duck boat didn't have a VHF radio.

  5. #5
    My Boats:
    00 Powerquest 380, rinker 272
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    Sep 2009
    Mansfield, Ohio
    Absolutley horrible situation, my prayers go out to the missing

  6. #6
    VIP Member VIP Member Back4More's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    Lake Michigan
    I don't think I would ride on that thing even with a life jacket on.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member Platinum Member LaughingCat's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
    Tampa, FL
    Found one body. They were about to raise the Duck when they may have spotted the other body, so that is delaying it. . . according to AP.

    Anyone have photos or video?
    "I'm just looking for clues at the scene of the crime."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    LI, New York
    I've been on one before. It's not fun. It doesn't feel stable. And you usually crawl past huge ships. Very nerve racking.

  9. #9
    Registered HiPerf2000's Avatar
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    Oct 2000
    the only video is of the duck boat being raised half way by a crane.

    original reports said it split in half. from the looks of it on the crane, it doesnt look in too bad of shape. it was probably just forced under and submerged.

  10. #10
    My Boats:
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    Toronto, Ontario
    Wow, I could not imagine how scary that had to be. I truthfully think if I was on it and saw a barge about to hit us I would jump out and swim as far away as I could.

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