Ill communication: Tugboat pilot texting before crash

The NTSB didn’t reach any conclusions in the 4,400 pages of documents released on its website yesterday, saying that will come in the next couple months.

Like a cliched public service announcement about driving a car and talking on the cell phone, the National Transportation Safety Board’s findings into the fatal duck boat crash last summer released yesterday includes damning proof against distracted driving.

Most egregious evidence comes from the cell phone log of the city-contracted tugboat driver at the time of the July 7 tragedy, first mate Matt Devlin, who an attorney for K-Sea Transportation told NTSB was dealing with a family medical emergency. He made or received 18 calls on his cell phone while steering the 80-foot barge upriver before it eventually ran over a “Ride the Ducks” tourist vessel.

On that smaller vessel, the “lookout” on the duck boat, shiphand Kyle Burkhardt, exchanged four text messages with his girlfriend in the 10 minutes just before his vessel was sunk, according to the report.

“So you have first mate Matt Devlin on his cell phone at time of accident and deckhand lookout Kyle Burkhart texting his girlfriend,” said attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, who is representing families of two Hungarian tourists killed in the crash. “When you are the operator of a vessel or aircraft or vehicle, dealing with a family medical emergency doesn’t give you the right to cause a medical emergency to someone else.”

The NTSB didn’t reach any conclusions in the 4,400 pages of documents released on its website yesterday, saying that will come in the next couple months.

Duck boats still on course

Ride the Ducks president Chris Herschend believes the report goes a long way toward restoring the much damaged confidence the public has in the company.

“Today’s factual report notes that the tug pilot was on his cell phone for 13 minutes before the crash,” he said. “And the Caribbean Sea had no lookout posted.”

He says the company is getting close to restarting tours, noting that it could begin operations again as soon as the end of this month.


MAP: New York City street closures July 11,…

A block party in Times Square, Bastille Day celebrations and a festival will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend.


Thousands come to pay respects to fallen NYC…

Thousands turned out to say farewell to fallen firefighter Gordon Ambelas at St. Clare’s Church in Staten Island this morning.


Lawsuit against Amazon could result in refunds for…

The federal government filed a lawsuit to force Amazon to refund money spent without parental authorization.


New private calling plan for the surveillance age

Silent Circle offers encrypted communications that also disposes of records of all calls, texts, messages or documents from both senders and receivers.


Stream 'Love Addict,' a documentary that asks if…

On our site you can stream "Love Addict," a Danish documentary about three stories of romantic obsession that questions if the emotion is healthy.


Familiar face returns to 'The View'

It's official: Rosie O'Donnell is returning to "The View," according to a tweet from the show earlier this afternoon. O'Donnell will join moderator Whoopi Goldberg…


Review: Nick Hornby's 'A Long Way Down' becomes…

"A Long Way Down," Nick Hornby's 2006 novel about four suicidal people who become friends, gets a movie that loses most of the language and tone.


TV watch list, Thursday, July 10: 'Last Comic…

Watch the contestants visit "The Ellen Degeneres Show" on tonight's "Last Comic Standing."


Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.


A Joffrey Ballet dancer threw the most beautiful… While asked to throw a first pitch at a baseball game can be a treacherous and/or embarrassing experience (see Cent, 50), sometimes everything can…

World Cup

World Cup semifinals preview: Holland vs. Argentina

The second semifinal pits another South American soccer power against a European one.


Save the calories: Drink soda virtually

Have you ever imagined yourself walking on a rainbow drinking an ice-cold cola? How about floating in space sipping on a grape soda? Well, now…


Spray tan tips from The Bronzed Bee

Whether you’re getting glam for your summer wedding or just want a glow for the beach, there are spray tan commandments you must follow. Break…


West Elm x Coyuchi hits stores

West Elm teams up with organic bedding brand Coyuchi for a collection.


We've been researching Alzheimer's all wrong

Over the past 15 years, more than 100 potential treatments for Alzheimer's have been tested and failed. A scientist who led a new study that…