Philadelphia Duck Boat Accident

Two people are still missing after a Philadelphia tourist boat was struck by a barge, spilling its passengers into the Delaware River. According to local reports, there were 37 passengers on the boat. All except for 2 – a 16 year-old girl and 20 year-old man, both Hungarian tourists – have been rescued as of the time of this blog.

The accident occurred shortly after 2:30 p.m. yesterday, July 7, 2010. The boat was one of a fleet of boats known as “duck boats” that operate as tourist vessels launched daily out of Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing in the Delaware River. Apparently, the duck boat broke down shortly after its launch when it experienced mechanical difficulties and caught fire. While its crew waited for help, the boat sat idly in the river as a 250-foot city-operated barge – the Resource – approached. The massive barge struck and ran over the boat, capsizing and sinking it, and all of the passengers were thrown into the river, including many children. Several eye witnesses commented that it seemed as if the barge had plenty of time to avoid hitting the duck boat.

Photos of the aftermath show emergency personnel helping passengers to safety. Some of the passengers were taken to nearby hospitals to treat for injuries.

The boat was one of 15 duck boats operated in Philadelphia by a company called Ride the Ducks, which is owned by the Atlanta-based company Herschend Family Entertainment. Ride the Ducks owns and operates approximately 90 vessels in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Memphis, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri.

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