NTSB: Duck Boat's Radio Calls Went Unheeded
The NTSB today released its preliminary report on the “duck boat” accident last July in the Delaware River that killed two Hungarian tourists.
KYW’s Mike Dunn reports that much of the information in the two-page report on the July 7th collision between the amphibious tour boat and a sludge-carrying barge was previously known, but it does detail the radio calls made just prior to the accident by the operator of the disabled duck boat to the pilot of the tugboat pushing the barge.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the duck boat operator got no response from the tugboat Caribbean Sea despite repeated attempts in the moments before the collision.
The NTSB report indicates that others also tried to contact the tugboat pilot as its barge bore down on the duck boat, which was awaiting a repair crew (see related story and photo gallery).
The NTSB says information about those calls came from recordings of VHF channel 13 made by the Burlington County Bridge Authority.
There were no specific conclusions or recommendations in the preliminary report. Those are expected in the final report, which could take many more months to complete.
The city’s managing director, Richard Negrin, voiced some disappointment at the brevity of the preliminary report. Nonetheless, he says, the report will help him decide whether to allow the duck boats to resume operations in the city. He won’t say when he’ll make that decision.
Negrin confirms that one idea being considered is to put the duck boats on the Schuylkill River rather than the Delware:
“It’s something we’re looking at right now. It’s absolutely something we’re talking about.”
KYW’s Lynn Adkins reports that Robert Mongeluzzi, the attorney for the two Hungarian visitors who died in the duck boat accident (see related story), says this helps give the families of the victims some closure in this tragedy.
He says it’s important that officials have confirmed that there was a recording that shows the duck boat did send out a distress call for several minutes. But he says it leaves unanswered a key question: why didn’t anyone on the tugboat hear the distress calls, which others have heard?