Philadelphia’s managing director says a decision on whether to allow “Ride the Ducks” to resume operations on the Delaware River could come within a few weeks.

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KYW’s Mike Dunn reports that city managing director Richard Negrin is waiting for one crucial document about the fatal duck boat accident on July 7th:

“We’re awaiting the results of an NTSB preliminary report, which is anticipated in the next two weeks.”

Once he has that report in hand, Negrin says, he’ll be able to decide whether the duck boats can return:

“So probably by the end of August we’ll be able to sit down, actually look at the preliminary findings, and be able to make some decisions about whether the ducks will be able to resume on the Delaware River this (tourist) season.”

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Negrin says public safety will be the key determining factor:

“For us, it’s going to be about public safety.  We’re going to look at the facts and make an evaluation once we have them as to what we think we need to do to get them operating again.”

The attorney for the families of the two victims, Robert Mongeluzzi, wrote to Mayor Nutter on August 5th, voicing opposition to any resumption of service.  Mongeluzzi asked Nutter to wait until the NTSB’s final report is complete, as opposed to the preliminary one that Negrin expects shortly.

In his letter, Mongeluzzi also called for a special public hearing on the incident, focusing in part on reports that the duck boat firm had routinely been operating in non-authorized travel lanes on the Delaware.

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But Managing Director Negrin says that the NTSB final report could take more than a year, and he indicated the Nutter administration has no intention of waiting that long to make the decision:

“Their longer analysis takes about a year, which is clearly insufficient for us in terms of how we’re operating.”

Two Hungarian students — Dora Schwendtner, 16, and Szabolcs Prem, 20 — died in the crash in which the disabled duck boat was rammed by a barge (related story).

On behalf of the families, Mongeluzzi this month filed a wrongful death civil suit against both Ride the Ducks and the firm that operated the tugboat which was pushing the barge (related story).


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