U.S. Rep. Bob Brady calls duck vehicles unsafe

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the July 7 duck boat accident that killed two Hungarian passengers, but Congressman Bob Brady already has said the vehicles are unsafe.

In an August letter to the U.S. Coast Guard, Congressman Bob Brady said he believed duck vehicles were "not safe for either our streets or our waterways." He urged the Coast Guard not to renew the ducks' permits to go on the water.

Jonathan Bari, who runs the Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia who has complained that the city has favored Ride the Ducks over other tour operators, obtained the Brady letter through a public records request. Ride the Ducks spokesman Bob Salmon said the boats are safe and exceed Coast Guard regulations.

Brady's letter came about a month after a July 7 accident on the Delaware River that killed two duck boat passengers. On July 7, a K-Sea Transportation Partners tug pushing a barge owned by the city crashed into a duck boat, killing Hungarian tourists Szabolcs Prem, 20, and Dora Schwendtner, 16.

The duck boat had stopped on the Delaware after its captain saw smoke coming from the engine. Capt. Gary Fox radioed for help and issued warnings over marine channels, saying he had no power. He also asked the tug to change course.

The tug's first mate was at the helm. He has refused to be interviewed by the NTSB.

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