A lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who was run over by a Ride the Ducks boat in May says the amphibious tourist vehicles are unsafe.
Lawyers for the family of Dr. Elizabeth Karnacki say the ducks boats have huge blind spots that prevent drivers from seeing pedestrians. That danger is compounded by the fact that drivers do double duty as tour operators, the lawsuit states.
The company says in a statement "Our driver, a retired commercial airline pilot, was not tasked with delivering the narration; he was accompanied by a narrator focused on delivering the tour to our guests. Witnesses interviewed by the police also stated that the decedent walked out against a red light, was distracted and the driver was not at fault. No citation was issued and the police indicated Ride The Ducks was not at fault."
But the lawsuit tells a slightly different story.
Lawyers say the duck boat was stopped at a red light and that Karnacki began crossing the street before the light turned green. The driver failed to notice her because of the vehicle's large blind spots.
Representatives of Ride the Duck returned a call to say they would issue a statement. Metro did not immediately receive it.
In 2010, a Ride the Duck boat sunk in the Delaware River after it became disabled in the water and was struck by a barge. The tugboat operator who was pushing the barge upstream was on his cell phone at the time of the collision. Two people died in that incident.
The lawsuit, which names Ride the Ducks, its parent company and the manufacturer of the vehicles, says the duck boats are unsafe and should taken off the streets.
The lawsuit was filed by Robert Mongeluzzi, who negotiated a $17 million judgment against the company on behalf of passengers of the sunken duck boat.