Bodies Recovered as Duck Boat Lifted from River

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

By Kelly Bayliss and Vince Lattanzio
|  Saturday, Jul 31, 2010  |  Updated 8:56 PM EDT
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The bodies of two Hungarian tourists were found 48 hours after a Ride the Ducks boat sank to the floor of the <a title=Delaware River." />

NBC Philadelphia - Harry Hairston

The bodies of two Hungarian tourists were found 48 hours after a Ride the Ducks boat sank to the floor of the Delaware River.

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Crew Pulling Sunken Duck Boat Out of Water

The boat involved in Wednesday fatal accident is almost completely out of the water.
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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