Phila. Duck Boats Back in Water

Ride back into the Delaware on Thursday

The duck boats will ride again in the Delaware River on Thursday for the first time in Philadelphia since the deadly accident last summer.

This time, Ride the Ducks, the company that runs the boats’ operation, has new safety measures in place to protect against any more tragedies.

On July 7, 2010, two Hungarian students, 20-year-old Szabolcs Prem and 16-year-old Dora Schwendtner, were killed when the amphibious boat collided with a barge.

“Over the past several months, the City, the Tri-state Maritime Safety Association and the US Coast Guard have worked closely with Ride the Ducks to ensure that when they begin offering tours again, every measure has been considered and will be followed to provide for the safety of Philadelphians and our visitors,” said Deputy Mayor and Managing Director Richard Negrin.

The new safety standards include a shortened route, a Marine Response Coordinator boat, improved radar, and “improved redundancy” of safety equipment.

Check out the safety speech video below, as given by Captain Norm.

Ride the Ducks will also hold off on handing out the trademark noise making “quackers” until the end of the trip.

A government report on last summer's fatal duck boat crash in Philadelphia reveals the tugboat pilot in the crash was consumed by a family emergency and on his cell phone when the collision happened.

But the victims’ families are still astounded that such a horrible accident occurred.

“The families in Hungary cannot understand how a tug boat operator can be using a cell phone when his boat is about to destroy a tourist boat,” said lawyers Peter Ronai and Holly Ostrov Ronai, who represent the families of the students killed.

Ride the Ducks is satisfied that the new safety measures will keep their riders safe, and they’re not the only ones excited to get back in the water.

“Recent research indicates Philadelphians are looking forward to having the Ducks back,” said Ride the Ducks President Chris Herschend.  “Nearly 84 percent were supportive of re-opening."

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