Philly duck boats idle on anniversary of accident
PHILADELPHIA - July 7, 2011 (WPVI) -- Ducks boats have been idle today in Philadelphia to mark the one-year anniversary of an accident that killed two Hungarian tourists.
Ride the Ducks of Norcross, Ga., has suspended operations in Philadelphia on Thursday to honor the victims of the July 7, 2010, accident.
The two students, 16-year-old Dora Schwendtner and 20-year-old Szabolcs Prem, died when a city barge being pushed by a tug collided with a stalled duck boat on the Delaware River. The crash also dumped 35 others aboard the boat into the river.
It's been one year since that deadly Duck Boat crash on the Delaware, and the tragedy is still fresh in many people's minds.The chilling sounds were captured that day as a barge crashed right into the duck boat. The parents of the two young people killed are still looking for answers. "I'll never forget that," said Pastor Scott Widner, his memory vivid one year ago. Pastor Scott Widmer received a call that seven Americans and 15 Hungarian youth and youth leaders that his Marshallton United Methodist Church in Chester County were hosting, had been in a crash on the Delaware River. He says the post-traumatic stress still haunts some of the people who were on board. "It's like grieving," said Pastor Widner. "You never know what will trigger it. You never know when. It most often clips us from behind like a tidal wave." Their disabled tour boat had been hit by a tug pushing a barge. 37 people were tossed into the water; 35 were rescued. 16 year old Dora Schwendtner and 20 year old Szebolcs Prem did not make it. The church will mark the anniversary in a service on Sunday. Four of his congregants have since traveled to Hungary to pay their respects and search for peace. "They were able to see Szeb and Dora's parents who they hadn't met before," said Pastor Widner. "That had to be a huge step towards closure for them." The National Transportation Safety Board found that the mate piloting the barge had been on his cell phone dealing with a family emergency. As for the Duckboat, the national transportation safety board believes a radiator cap was installed incorrectly, leading to the break-down. Ride the ducks did not run tours on Thursday in honor of the victims. The victims' parents, however, don't see the one day tour suspension as an honor, and expressed their views in a piece published in the Daily News: "The honorable thing to do would be to admit that you are wrong. Wrong about what happened on your boat. Wrong about your weak safety precautions. Wrong about taking good care of the engine and a simple thing like a radiator cap." The victims' families have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the city, the operators of both vessels and others.
The church service will take place on Sunday at 10:00am at Marshallton United Methodist Church in Chester County.The pastor says he hopes it will help in the healing process.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, duck boat accident, local/state
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