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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – The lawyer who represented the victims of a 2010 deadly duck boat crash in Philadelphia is calling for the ban of the amphibious vehicles after a duck boat in Missouri capsized, killing more than a dozen people.
Attorney Robert Mongeluzzi says he has actually been calling for the ban of duck boats since the July 2010 incident, where a duck boat collided with a barge on the Delaware River.
“The issue of duck boat safety emerged in the Miss Majestic sinking in Arkansas in 1999 that drowned 11,” said Mongeluzzi. “They have several fatal flaws. They are equipped with canopies which will entrap passengers who put on their life vests preventing them from getting out of this vessel in the event of the sinking. The second is that they ride very low in the water.”
The collision sent the tour boat, with 35 passengers and a crew of two, underwater. Two passengers were killed.
The barge was being towed by a tugboat at the time of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board said the tug’s mate was distracted by cell phone calls and a family emergency.
In 2015, a 68-year-old woman was struck and killed by a duck boat while crossing the street in Center City. Ride the Ducks Philadelphia suspended operations indefinitely, back in 2016.
In Thursday night’s incident, it is believed stormy weather caused the boat to capsize. Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said 31 people were aboard the boat on Table Rock Lake near Branson. Fourteen people survived, he said.
Duck boats, known for their ability to travel on land and in water, have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past. They include one in 2015 in Seattle in which five college students were killed when a boat collided with a bus, and one in 1999 that left 13 people dead after the boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Safety advocates have sought improvements to the boats since the Arkansas incident. Critics argued that part of the problem is numerous agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.
“After the Miss Majestic tragedy the NTSB recommended that canopies be removed from duck oats because when the vessel sinks the buoyancy of life jackets will trap the passengers beneath the canopy, preventing escapes and drowning them,” said Mongeluzzi. “The industry never complied.”
Duck boats were originally used by the U.S. military in World War II to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)