Bodies Recovered as Duck Boat Lifted from River

Officials identify bodies of missing tourists after tour boat sinks in the Delaware




    The bodies of two Hungarian tourists were found 48 hours after a Ride the Ducks boat sank to the floor of the Delaware River. (Published Friday, July 9, 2010)

    The bodies of two Hungarian tourists left missing after a Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle collided with a barge and sank were discovered Friday.

    Dora Schwendtner, 16, and 20-year-old Szablcs Prem were among 37 people flung into the Delaware River Wednesday afternoon after the tour boat they were in was hit by the 250-foot barge The Resource.

    Crew Pulling Sunken Duck Boat Out of Water

    [PHI] Crew Pulling Sunken Duck Boat Out of Water
    The boat involved in Wednesday fatal accident is almost completely out of the water. (Published Friday, July 9, 2010)

    The boat had been listing in the river after an engine fire left it disabled when the accident happened.

    The Resource struck the Duck boat at the stern causing it roll onto its side and ripping the roof open. The boat then sank to the bottom of the Delaware in 40-feet of water.

    A private salvage crew hoisted that sunken ship from the riverbed around 1:30 p.m. Friday uncovering the force of the impact.

    As crews worked to raise the ship, the body of a young man surfaced at the scene. The body was later identified as Prem, officials told NBC Philadelphia.

    Duck Boat Recovery

    [PHI] Duck Boat Recovery
    The boat was pulled from the river around 1:30 p.m. Friday (Published Friday, July 9, 2010)

    Hours before, around 5 a.m., Schwendtner's body was discovered by fishermen near Snyder Avenue -- about two miles south of the crash site.

    Schwendtner and Prem were visiting the Philadelphia area as part of an exchange program with a West Chester, Pa. church.

    Watch the Duck Boat Being Pulled Out of River

    [PHI] Watch the Duck Boat Being Pulled Out of River
    This duck boat was involved in a deadly crash Wednesday. It is recovered and being moved to the Coast Guard. (Published Friday, July 9, 2010)

    During a press conference Friday afternoon, Mayor Michael Nutter announced a public memorial service and wreath laying ceremony would be held Saturday at noon. This will follow a private service inside the Independence Seaport Museum.

    Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board pressed forward with their investigation into the collision Friday. Sources told NBC Philadelphia that the destroyed boat would be taken to the U.S. Coast Guard's Philadelphia station at Washington Avenue and Columbus Boulevard so the NTSB could inspect the ship.

    Sunken Duck Boat Salvage Operation

    [PHI] Sunken Duck Boat Salvage Operation
    A giant crane will be used to raise the sunken Ride the Ducks boat from the bottom of the Delaware River on Friday. The salvage operation could last eight to ten hours. The tour boat sunk two days before -- July 7, 2010 -- when it collided with a barge. 37 passengers and crew were on board. Two Hungarian missionaries did not survive. (Published Friday, July 9, 2010)

    Many questions still remain as to what led up to the collision. The tour company says the ship's captain followed all emergency procedures including making an SOS call to the Coast Guard and firing a distress flare, but officials say there's no record of either.

    There have also been questions about whether the boat was equipped with enough anchor line to keep it from drifting into the river's shipping lanes.

    "We Are Devastated By This Discovery"

    [PHI] "We Are Devastated By This Discovery"
    Ride the Ducks President, Chris Herchend, reacts to the news that a woman's body was discovered near the accident scene Friday morning. He says his company is providing counseling for anyone who needs it and talks about the status of the salvage operation, which was set to get underway that morning. (Published Friday, July 9, 2010)

    The president of Ride the Ducks expressed his condolences over the deaths, but wouldn't comment on the investigation.

    "We are devastated by the news of this discovery. Our thoughts, our prayers, our sympathy are with the family," president Chris Herschend said. "I'm not going to speculate into the investigation."