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"Ride the Ducks" has a history of fatal incidents, with seven dead over the last ten years

Posted: 4:27 PM, Jul 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-20 18:11:11-04

BRANSON, MO. -- Before Branson, Ride the Ducks was held responsible for seven other deaths and 70 injuries, one happening on land and the other in the water.

In July of 2010 two Hungarian students died when a 250 foot barge pushed by a tugboat ran over the roughly 30 foot Ride the Ducks tour boat on Philadelphia's Delaware River. The boat had encountered mechanical problems and was sitting idle in the river when its 37 passengers were plunged underwater.

Witnesses, police, and rescue crews dove in to rescue 35 people. The students, aged 20 and 16, were recovered two days later. Families of the two girls filed wrongful death lawsuits against the tugboat company and Ride the Ducks, reaching a $17 million settlement.

The Philadelphia location closed for nine months, resuming with new safety procedures. That included a response coordinator boat to quickly tow disabled vehicles and adding a system to improve visability on radar. Staff also went through increased safety training.

In September 2015 five people died and 50 more were injured when a Ride the Ducks vehicle crashed into a bus on the Aurora Bridge in Seattle. The five were on a bus carrying international students and employees to go site seeing.

A year later the National Transportation and Safety Board referred to this as a "cautionary tale," saying improper manufacturing and inadequate maintenance by Ride the Ducks resulted in an axle failure that led to loss of vehicle control. In that case the company faced a million dollars in civil fines.

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