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Duck Boat Survivor Describes Chaos of 2010 Barge Crash On Delaware River

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The second day of the federal civil trial stemming from the 2010 duck boat disaster on the Delaware River got underway today with testimony from some of the survivors (see previous story).

Kevin Grace, a visitor from Waterloo, Illinois, was one of the passengers on ill-fated duck boat 34 that afternoon in July of 2010 as a sludge barge being pushed by a tugboat bore down on the amphibious tour vehicle which was stalled and anchored less than 300 feet off Penn’s Landing.

Grace says at no time did the captain or deckhand tell passengers to grab life jackets.

Grace testified that just before impact he was struggling to get a life preserver onto his nine-year-old daughter Ruby, and in the next chaotic seconds was trying to decide whether to jump.

Then he described the sheer panic of the collision.  He says as the duck boat was pushed under by the barge, it turned and pitched in the river, and they were all swallowed up.  He says he didn’t even have time to take a breath.  He said it was like being in a washing machine.

He said that hung onto Ruby and they both made it to shore.

Two Hungarian tourists were killed in the crash.  The first mate of the tugboat that was pushing the barge has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a year in prison.


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