The NTSB says the crew member piloting the tugboat in last week’s fatal duck boat crash is refusing to answer questions. KYW’s Mike DeNardo looks into how that may that affect the probe.
Is it a major blow to the NTSB investigation that the mate piloting the tugboat invoked his Fifth Amendment right and isn’t talking?
Philadelphia attorney Alan Feldman says no. He believes the NTSB will be able to gather enough information from the other four members of the tugboat crew to determine whether they heard the duck boat’s distress calls.
But Feldman says that when the inevitable civil suits arise, it’s a different story:
“The fact that you’re pleading the Fifth is admissible at trial. So it’s a very dangerous tactic for a defendant to plead the Fifth in the context of a civil case. The jury will know that he is refusing to talk.”
But for now, Feldman believes that not having the testimony of one key crew member will not seriously hamper the investigation.
Feldman says that while he has communicated with the Hungarian embassy, so far he has not been retained by anyone in the case.