Duck boat victim’s family wants to ban tourist attraction from Philly streets

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 Attorney Robert Mongeluzzi displays high-tech renderings of a  duck boat's blind spot. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Attorney Robert Mongeluzzi displays high-tech renderings of a duck boat's blind spot. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

The company behind the Ride the Ducks tourist attraction in Philadelphia is being sued again.

And the lawyer filing the suit on behalf of a man whose wife was struck and killed by an amphibious  duck boat in Center City in May is pushing to remove the boats from city streets.

On the fifth anniversary of the duck boat accident on the Delaware River that killed two, attorney Robert Mongeluzzi told reporters he’s been retained by the husband of Elizabeth Karnicki, the woman killed while crossing Arch Street in May.

“He doesn’t want anybody else to experience the horror of watching his spouse of 40 years being crushed to death before his eyes,” Mongeluzzi said.

Mongeluzzi showed high-tech charts that he contends prove the boats have a major blind spot in the front of the vehicle during a presentation Tuesday.

“What they do is they build on a circa-1940s chassis, and because of that they can avoid any modern federal motor vehicle regulations having to do with safety,” he said. “It’s a technical loophole, we brought it up five years ago, we bring it up again today.”

Mongeluzzi won a $15 million settlement for the families of two Hungarian tourists killed in 2010 on the Delaware River when the duck boat they were riding stalled and was struck by a trash barge.

Ride the Ducks emailed a statement saying safety is of paramount importance.  It says the company’s equipment is regularly inspected and drivers trained.

It cites witnesses interviewed by police who said Elizabeth Karnicki, 68, walked out against a red light and was distracted.  The company emphasizes that its driver was not cited by police.

Mongeluzzi is also suing the City of Philadelphia, claiming it did not have proper traffic signals at the intersection.  City officials have a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.

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