Settlement Reached in Philadelphia Duck Boat Civil Trial

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May 10, 2012

Families of the two victims killed in the 2010 Philadelphia Duck Boat collision will split a $15 million settlement paid for by the companies involved in the deadly accident on the Delaware River.

The pay out will be split by Ride the Ducks, which operates the amphibious sightseeing tour, and K-Sea Transportation, which owned the tugboat M/V Caribbean Sea that was pushing a 250-foot barge at the time, according to a report by the  It was not immediately clear how the settlement will be split up between the two companies.

The settlement follows two days of trial over a wrongful death lawsuit brought on against the companies following the July 2010 incident that killed Szabolcs Prem, 20, and Dora Schwendtner, 16, who were visiting Philadelphia from Hungry.  Schwendtner can apparently be seen throwing a lifejacket to overboard passengers in a new video of the incident released in anticipation of the civil trial.

As gCaptain has reported earlier, the NTSB’s official report on the incident found that the mate, Matt Devlin, who was operating the tugboat M/V Caribbean Sea at the time of the collision, failed to maintain a proper lookout and was distracted by repeated use of a cell phone and lap top computer in dealing with a family emergency.

The report says that in opening arguments, lawyers for both companies tried to place blame on Matt Devlin, who was reportedly frantically referencing his lap top computer and making person phone calls after learning earlier in the day that his son had had a severe medical emergency.

In 2011, Devlin plead guilty to one count of misconduct of a ship operator causing death, the equivalent to involuntary manslaughter, and was sentenced to 1 year in prison and revocation of his license.

The settlement totaled $17 million, including $2 million to be split by among the 18 surviving passengers.

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