By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Attorneys for two Hungarian students who died when a tugboat and a barge slammed into the disabled duck boat on which they were riding have released new video showing what they say are disturbing new details of the deadly crash of July 2010.
Robert Mongeluzzi says the video clearly shows a mate on the duck boat jumping overboard from the bow of the vessel seconds before the crash, as 35 passengers struggled to don lifejackets.
The attorney claims crew members did not take advantage of an 11 minute, 46 second window of opportunity to alert passengers to the impending crash, warning them just 45 seconds before impact. As a result, the attorneys say, most passengers, including the two victims who died, never had a chance to put on life jackets before the duck boat was struck and fully submerged by the barge and tugboat.
Members of the victims’ families plan to travel here from Hungary to attend what is expected to be a month-long trial before a judge in federal court. The proceeding will determine if liability limits imposed under an 1851 maritime law will be lifted, allowing the victims’ attorneys to sue for more than just the combined value of the two vessels, estimated to be about $1.5 million dollars.
A representative of the duck boat company contacted by CBS 3 declined comment, citing the pending litigation.