The family of a woman who was hit and killed by an amphibious tour boat on a downtown Philadelphia street in May has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the tour company and the City of Philadelphia, asserting the vehicles should not be allowed on city streets.
Elizabeth Karnicki, 69, of Beaumont, Texas, was touring Philadelphia on foot with her husband May 8 when the tour boat on wheels hit her as she was crossing a street.
The Ride The Ducks tour drives visitors around Philadelphia’s historic neighborhoods and attractions before descending a ramp into the Delaware River for views of the city from the water.
According to the Associated Press, the family’s attorneys allege that the incident, which occurred during rush hour, was caused in part by “huge blind spots” on the Ride The Ducks vehicle. Robert Mongeluzzi, a lawyer whose firm won a $17-million settlement involving a fatal duck boat accident on the Delaware River in 2010, told the AP that the vehicles should be banned from the streets of Philadelphia.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers also allege that the tour bus driver, a former commercial airline pilot, is “more conversational tour guide than focused vehicle operator.” Ride The Ducks disputes the allegations, saying that its driver operated the vehicle in a safe manner and that Ms. Karnicki crossed the street against a red light “while looking at an electronic device.”
After the 2010 accident, the duck boats ceased operating for eight months, the AP reported. Ride the Ducks now has tour operations in several other cities including Branson, Mo.; Guam, Newport, Ky.; Stone Mountain, Ga.; and San Francisco.
Sources: Associated Press