Duck boats will return to Delaware

The Ride the Ducks tours will return to Philadelphia’s Delaware River Thursday now that the city has signed off on resuming the amphibious attraction after a double fatality last year.

Two Hungarian students were killed in the July 7 collision of a duck and a barge on the river. The duck boat was disabled and the pilot of the tug pushing the barge was distracted by cell phone calls, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Philadelphia Managing Director Rich Negrin said Tuesday the duck boat route will offer a much shorter tour this time around.

“It’s roughly two-thirds reduced,” he said. “The ride in 2010 spent 30 to 35 minutes in the water. Now, they’ll be spending around 10 minutes, so it’s a substantially truncated route”

Negrin said the city has also mandated a host of safety measures, including redundant two-way radios and an inflatable life raft on each duck boat.

“What we’ve done is taken measures or enhanced our measures to make sure an accident like this doesn’t happen again,” said Bob Salmon, a spokesman for the Ride the Ducks tours, referring to the fatal collision.

Salmon said about 50 people who worked running the tours are ready to return to work.

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