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Barge and Tour Boat Collide in Philadelphia

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By Jason Beahm on July 08, 2010 7:07 AM

A barge and tour boat crash in Philadelphia has two people still missing after 37 were sent into the Delaware River Wednesday afternoon. An 800 foot barge ran into a tourist "duck boat," capsizing the boat and sending the tourists overboard. The two missing people are a 16-year-old girl and a 20-year old male. Nine others were hospitalized.

According to Charles H. Ramsey, the Philadelphia police commissioner, prior to the crash the duck boat had broken down with a small fire and it was waiting it the water for help. Before help could arrive, a Philadelphia barge, which was pulled by a tugboat, rammed into the tourist boat causing it to sink. A search has begun for the boat and state and federal investigators are preparing an investigation into how the accident occurred.

"We confirmed that there were 37 people on board, 35 passengers and two crew. As of right now we have confirmed that 35 people have been recovered. There are two people missing," said David Umberger, the Coast Guard's civilian search and rescue controller for the area, reported by CNN.

The New York times Interviewed witness Meg Scharpf, who saw the entire crash: the tugboat and barge were "a little too close for comfort" to the stalled duck boat... [then] "The barge hit the broadside of the duck boat, and then they were gone," Ms. Scharpf said. "I heard nothing, I didn't hear a scream."

Scharpf said moments later she began to see people "pop up in their life jackets." The Coast Guard, police and fire department were on the scene in minutes.

The tour was operated by Ride The Ducks, which operates tours on World War II amphibious vehicles. The vehicles have been in a number of accidents over the past two decades, including an incident in 1999 when 13 people were killed in Hot Springs, Ark.

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