As expected, the first lawsuits have been filed in connection with last month’s fatal duck boat accident on the Delaware River.

KYW’s John McDevitt reports that a wrongful death complaint was filed today.

boatcrash3 cbs3 First Lawsuits Filed in Duck Boat Tragedy

The defendants in the suit are “Ride The Ducks,” which operated the amphibious tours; K-Sea Transportation, which operated the tugboat that pushed the barge into the duck boat; the company that manufactures the amphibious craft; and  the City of Philadelphia.

Center city lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi, who represents the families of the Hungarian students who died after the barge ran over the duck boat on July 7th, says the two victims — Dora Schwendtner, 16, and Szabolcs Prem, 20 — drowned because they got caught in the duck boat’s canopy:

“We certainly know from the autopsy that both of them drowned — that they did not die of impact.  They were both good swimmers — Szabolcs actually swam competitively.  We can’t think of any good reason other than what happened.”

And Mongeluzzi points to a 1999 duck boat accident in Arkansas, in which 13 people died, as indication that the canopies are dangerous.

But in a printed statement, Ride The Ducks says the 1999 accident that befell another duck boat company is entirely unrelated to this case, in which their vehicle, anchored and awaiting assistance, was run down by a barge many times its size and weight.

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