Investigation into Duck Boat Tragedy Continues
KYW’s Jim Melwert reports on the same day two bodies were recovered from the river, and the sunken Duck Boat was raised from the bottom of the Delaware, the NTSB conducted interviews with crew and passengers, create a preliminary time-line of what happened.
Not long after the Duck Boat hit the water, the 58-year-old master tells investigators he turned the wheel over to an 18-year-old deckhand and the tour headed south along the Delaware.
When the boat turned around to make the return trip, NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt says that’s when the captain noticed something was wrong:
“The captain noticed a white smoke and he described it as being an acrid smell.”
The deckhand described it a burning rubber smell. The captain says he didn’t see flames, but he shut down the engine.
He says he called over the radio on what’s described as a bridge to bridge channel saying they were disabled, he then called the Ride the Ducks dispatch and said he was dropping anchor.
Sumwalt says from interviews with passengers and crew the boat was disabled in the water for about 5-10 minutes.
And he says the captain told investigators he radioed again over the same channel when he saw the tug and barge were just minutes from hitting his vessel.
Ride the Ducks says it is resuming operations in San Francisco, Atlanta and two other locations.
A statement from the company says inspections show the ducks vessels are safe.
But the Duck Boat rides in Philadelphia remain suspended, as they have been since the day of the accident.
(Photo by KYW’s Jim Melwert)