Following Thursday’S Fatal Accident In Seattle Involving A Ride The Ducks Tour Vehicle, A Philadelphia-Based Law Firm Representing A Man Whose Wife Was Killed By One A Similar Tour Bus Here Is Renewing The Call To End Operations.
Dan Karnicki, who was vacationing in Philadelphia with his late wife this past May, hired Philadelphia law firm Saltz, Mongeluzzi and Bendesky to represent him in a wrongful death complaint that names the city and Ride the Ducks as defendants.
“There are issues that arise with all DUKW boats,” Mongeluzzi said when contacted Friday regarding the lawsuit.
On Thursday, a Ride the Ducks vehicle collided with a charter bus and left four college students dead as well as eight more critically injured. Ride the Ducks has since voluntarily taken their vehicles off Seattle streets, according to a news conference held Thursday evening.
A Philadelphia man driving behind the tour vehicle said the charter bus was headed in the opposite direction. The tour boat suffered some sort of malfunction and swerved into the charter bus, according to Associated Press reports.
Mongeluzzi stressed that the Seattle operation is separate from the Philadelphia business, but the 1940s-type vehicles that both groups operate are not fit for use on land nor water.
According to the company’s website, Ride the Ducks of Seattle is independently owned and operated.
Further, the Seattle fleet is “annually inspected by the (United States Coast Guard) and bi-annually by the (Seattle Department of Transportation) and our paperwork files are audited frequently by both organizations. There are redundant safety systems onboard and our Operations Manual has been used as a prototype for amphibious tours around the country,” according to the company’s website.
“Liz” Karnicki was a college professor and senior advocate. Karnicki, who was 68 at the time of her death, was crossing a busy Chinatown intersection when she was run over by one of the tour vehicles.
The DUKW tour vehicles, which are manufactured by a sister company of Philadelphia-based Ride The Ducks International LLC, date back to World War II. The vehicles are approximately 30 feet long, 11 feet wide and can traverse land and water.
“They are dangerous because they have limited visibility – significant blind spots – and are unwieldy because they’re a boat and are not required to comply with federal vehicle crash worthiness standards,” Mongeluzzi added.
His law firm also represented the families of two Hungarian tourists killed in May 2010 after a Ride the Ducks tour boat was struck by a ship in the Delaware River.
A $17 million settlement was reached in 2012, with $15 million going to the families of Dora Schwendtner, 16, and Szabolcs Prem, 20, and the remaining $2 million split between the other passengers.
“Duck boats are deadly on the water and on land,” Mongeluzzi said while expressing sympathy for the victims of Thursday’s accident.