Ride the Ducks Operations in Philly “Suspended Indefinitely”

The amphibious tourist boats had been involved in two fatal accidents in the city since 2010.

A Philadelphia Ride the Ducks vehicle in a 2011 file photo. Matt Rourke/AP

A Philadelphia Ride the Ducks vehicle in a 2011 file photo. Matt Rourke/AP

Ride the Ducks, the company behind the rumbling amphibious “duck trucks” that have carried scads of quacking tourists through the city’s streets and on the Delaware for much of the past 13 years, has suspended operations in the city indefinitely.

The sightseeing company made the announcement on its website last night.

“We regret having to close our operation and send good wishes and brotherly love to the people of Philadelphia,” a short statement read.

In a later statement, the organization referenced a 330 percent increase in insurance premiums as the reason that “continued operations in Philadelphia are not financially feasible at this time.”

“We enjoyed serving the people of Philadelphia since 2003, serving over one million guests during that time,” the statement read.

What’s debatable is whether the people of Philadelphia mutually enjoyed the duck boats. The land-to-water vehicles have been criticized by many for years, ever since an accident in July 2010 led to the death of two Hungarian students when one of the boats collided with a barge in the Delaware River.

Then, in May 2015, Elizabeth Karnicki, 68-year-old tourist from Texas, was struck and killed by a duck boat in Chinatown. According to the Inquirer, police said Karnicki was looking at an electronic device while crossing the street against a red light, but a lawsuit filed against Ride the Ducks from Karnicki’s family blames much of the crash on the impractical structure of the vehicles.

That same year, five people were killed in Seattle when a Ride the Duck vehicle struck a bus full of international students on the city’s Aurora Bridge. Multiple lawsuits against the company arose as a result. According to KOMO News, Ride the Ducks Seattle reopened this past summer with half its fleet and was operating “at a loss.”

Lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi, whose firm is representing the Karnicki family in its lawsuit, issued a statement yesterday evening.

“Through our extensive experience representing victims of duck boat disasters we’ve determined those vehicles are fatally flawed; they’re death traps on the water due to their hazardous canopy design and on land they are engineered to restrict the peripheral vision of the operator, creating significant blind spots,” Mongeluzzi said in the statement. “A city without duck boat tours is a safer city.”

Ride the Ducks is the nation’s largest amphibious tour operator and licensor, according to its website. The company said it is working with its 42 full and part-time employees from its Philadelphia location to offer severance and outplacement assistance.

Philly seems pretty happy about the news:



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