$17 million settlement reached in deadly duck boat accident

A $17 million settlement has ended the civil case stemming from the fatal 2010 duck boat accident in Philadelphia.

Two Hungarian tourists on the tour boat died after the duck boat stalled in the Delaware River and was hit by a barge.

After the settlement was reached Wednesday afternoon, lawyers for the families say it was emotional for them to watch a video showing one student, who later perished, throw a life preserver to a deck hand in the water.

The deck hand had jumped from the disabled boat as the barge approached.

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Lawyer Peter Ronai said it’s been a painful process for the families, but at least they know their children died as heroes.

“What was great about this case, and what we didn’t know before this case, was the heroic nature of Szabolcs Prem and Dora Schwendtner giving their lives to save an American was moving and absolutely, absolutely touching for them,” Ronai said. “Going through this trial was a torment and a pain and they’re just glad to see it over and somehow put the pieces of their lives together.”

Lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi said the process has been difficult for the students’ families, but they can be proud of the young accident victims.

“I think for the families to realize that their children came to the United States and acted selflessly and tried to save someone else, I think that was an important moment for them in this trial,” he said Wednesday.

Mongeluzzi said he still believes duck boats with canopies are death traps because passengers wearing life preservers can get trapped under the canopy.

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