Duck boats changed following Arkansas accident

    Accident near Hot Springs killed 13 people. They apparently got caught in the boat’s canopy.

    The catastrophic collision Wednesday between a Philadelphia Duck Boat and a barge toting sludge down the Delaware River is a reminder of another accident more than a decade ago.

    A loose part on a Duck Boat near Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1999 caused the boat to take on water and sink in a matter of seconds.

    Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Steve Arrison remembers the incident well.

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    “I happened to be on the lake and had just gotten off the lake when the phones started going crazy that there was this terrible accident.”

    Thirteen of the 21 people on board became trapped under the semi-circular canvas canopy covering the amphibious vessel and drowned.

    In the aftermath, Arrison says federal and local authorities conducted thorough investigations of what went wrong.

    “I know the Coast Guard came in after the accident and really put them all under a microscope. Since the accident here, they’ve really looked at them to make sure that type of thing doesn’t happen again.”

    Since the accident, duck boats nationwide must have flotation devices to keep them on the water’s surface if they flood. They also can no longer have a semi-circular canopies like the one on the boat in Arkansas.

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