Past Problems on Duck Boats? - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Past Problems on Duck Boats?

Woman says she was evacuated from her Ride the Ducks boat after it overheated before splashing into the river



    Woman Recalls Her Duck Boat Evacuation

    Just a week before Wednesday's tragic Ride the Ducks boat sinking in the Delaware River, one woman says her boat almost was left drifting in the river. (Published Thursday, July 8, 2010)

    Geri Sullivan was not on the Ride the Duck boat that caught fire and stalled Wednesday, but she was on a duck boat last week that she says definitely overheated.

    "Smoke started coming out from like the dashboard area," recalled Sullivan. "[A crew member] reached back and pulled the floorboards up right where my feet were just to let some heat out of there."

    Sullivan was on the 2 p.m. boat on July 1st with her 8-year-old son Eddie when it began to smoke.

    "I smelled like an anti-freeze kinda smell," she said. "We were sitting right behind the captain's seat so I could smell…kinda recognize an overheating smell from a car."

    The two have ridden Ride the Ducks several times before, but she says when she saw people being pulled from the water, all she could think of was her experience with an overheated boat last week.

    "I really did think that maybe it was the same boat we were on," Sullivan said.

    Sullivan even documented the interrupted ride on Facebook as it happened. In a status update from her smartphone, she wrote:

    "Duck boat emergency…our duck boat started to smoke just as we entered the water…we all had to be evacuated."

    A status update and pictures taken as the two waited for their next boat. Now her thoughts are with the families of the two missing riders.

    "I just hope that they find them and they're safe and hope that no harm comes to nobody," she said.

    NBCPhiladelphia contacted Ride the Ducks to ask if over heating, like what happened before Wednesday's fire and accident, was a common problem.

    A company representative said occasionally the boats overheat and when that happens they are taken out of service because safety is a priority to the company.

    But as for Sullivan's incident they say there's no record of the event.