A wrongful death lawsuit over the deaths of two students in a 2010 Philadelphia Duck Boat crash was settled with an agreement to pay $17M in damages.
The July 2010 accident occurred on the Delaware River when a barge that was being pushed by a tugboat ran into the Duck Boat causing it to capsize and sink. Two Hungarian students, Dora Schwendtner, 16, and Szabolcs Prem, 20, drowned when the Duck Boat was hit.
The lawsuit alleged that the defendants, Ride the Ducks and K-Sea Transportation Partners, failed to have safety policies that were effective and that the accident was due to ineffective training and procedures.
The $17M settlement came as the victims’ families were leaving the United States for Hungary, said their lawyer, Robert Mongeluzzi. “We tried to get them at the airport,” he said, but that effort failed. “They had to get back to their jobs.” Robert Mongeluzzi said he thinks a dramatic video showing the barge running over the stalled Duck Boat pushed the boat owners to settle.
A spokesman for Mongeluzzi’s firm said $15 million of the settlement will go to the two Hungarian families and $2 million to injured passengers. Thirty-five passengers and crew survived. “There was a lot of evidence that was going to be produced that shows the Duck Boat was run over and should not have been run over,” said Jack Snyder, an attorney representing Ride the Ducks.