Philadelphia duck boat runs over, kills woman, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A small, amphibious tourist boat ran over a woman crossing a downtown street Friday evening, killing her, police said.

A preliminary investigation indicates the 68-year-old woman was walking with her husband against a traffic light when she was struck by the Ride The Ducks boat in the Chinatown neighborhood, police said.

Thomas Henry Massaro, who witnessed the accident, said he heard a scream, then a thump, and saw the woman get pulled underneath the vehicle.

“It just went right over her,” Massaro told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

He said officers on traffic duty rushed to the vehicle and slid underneath to try to free the woman. He said he also ran over and offered to perform CPR, but the officers told him there was nothing he could do.

The woman’s identity was not immediately released. Police said the duck boat driver reportedly could not see her.

The duck boats are a popular way for tourists to see the sights of Philadelphia from both land and water.

There were about 20 people on the boat at the time of the accident, Massaro said. They were forced to remain onboard for more than an hour as police questioned them and workers tried to retrieve the body.

Emily Myers, general manager of Ride The Ducks, was on the scene but said she had no information yet from the police.

“The thoughts and prayers of the entire Ride The Ducks organization are with the family and friends of the pedestrian involved in an accident that occurred this afternoon,” the Atlanta-based company said in a statement. “We will provide counseling for those affected by the accident and offer support wherever possible.”

In July 2010, a tugboat-guided barge slammed into and sank a duck boat in the Delaware River, killing two Hungarian tourists. The tug pilot, who was on his cellphone at the time of the crash, was sentenced to a year in prison. The tour company and tug operator agreed to a $17 million settlement.

The duck boats did not operate tours for eight months after the crash.

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