Friday, July 09, 2010

A Tragedy on the Water

Less than 50 yards from shore, but that didn't help matters any. Ride the Duck passengers describe ordeal in river | Philadelphia Inquirer | 07/09/2010

Ducks are an adaptation of a WWII landing craft. Not that any have been around that long, they are mostly new boats, that are also trucks (or maybe buses). You find them in a lot of tourist areas, as they provide a combination tours of both land and sea - or this case land and river. The new ones are supposed to be relatively safe. (Quite a few of the WWII vintage ones sank before they hit the beaches in France.)

I've read a few reports on the accident, and the one thing that sticks in my mind is that young kids - 10 or 12 years old - were not wearing life jackets. Not even after the first problem with the engine made the tour-captain put down an anchor.

When a barge collided with the duck, two people drowned, and for others it was a near thing.

Predictably, they are already debating liability, even before the facts are known. (A distress call was made on marine channel 13, but not 16. The Coast Guard monitors 16 not 13. 13 is for bridge-to-bridge communication when captains need to coordinate. Did the barge have a lookout? Was the duck indicating that it was at anchor in a channel or aground or in distress? The rules of navigation are legion.)

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