Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There is now closure for the families of two young students killed when a tugboat plowed into their tour boat on the Delaware River. The federal wrongful death trial ends with a multi-million dollar settlement.
Kai Jackson has more on the agreement and emotional words from the victims’ families.
It’s a painful day for the families of the two people who died and for the survivors.
Recently released video shows the horrific accident. In July 2010, a disabled Philadelphia duck boat with 35 tourists was hit and sunk by a huge barge in the Delaware River. Two Hungarian students died and 18 others on the duck boat were hurt.
On Wednesday, a $17 million settlement was reached in the wrongful death case filed by families of the dead students.
“No amount of money can replace their priceless only children,” said Robert Mongeluzzi, the families’ attorney.
Dora Schwendtner, 16, and Szabolcs Prem, 20, drowned. Prosecutors say in an amazing last act, Schwendtner threw a life jacket to a duck boat employee who jumped off the boat seconds before impact. Passengers were clearly seen still on board with no life jackets.
The duck boat president issued a statement saying, “We will never forget about Dora Schwendtner and Szabolcs Prem.”
An investigation revealed the tugboat captain was on a mobile phone at the time of the accident and didn’t see the duck boat. Prosecutors say duck boat employees weren’t properly trained and the company lacked clear safety policies.
“Duck boats with canopies are death traps. If you wear your life preserver and it goes down, you’ll get trapped,” Mongeluzzi said.
There were two crew members on board the duck boat.