'Ride the Ducks' owner defends safety of staff, vehicles

Elisa Hahn reports

Ride the Ducks suspended operations for the day shortly after the crash, and offered refunds to people who had already purchased tickets.

At the Ride the Ducks headquarters on 5th Avenue, passengers climbed out of the tour-guided amphibious vehicles.

Each vehicle had been called back, the tours cancelled, after the staff learning of the fatal accident.

"I can't tell you how difficult it is to deal with that fact," said the owner, Brian Tracey.

Tracey said the Department of Transportation and the United States Coast Guard inspect each vehicle every year.

Each one of his drivers, referred captains, go through rigorous training.

Tracey could remember only one injury accident while a Duck was moving its 20 year history.

"We take safety so seriously here," Tracey said. "We have reoccurring education for our captains, we have video cameras on the front, cameras on the back, mirrors all the way around. They're required to take a class of continuing education every single month."

Tracey expressed his deepest condolences for the victims in this accident, and said he didn't have enough information to speak to the details of the accident itself.

He wasn't sure how many passengers were on board, but he's guessing it was fully loaded, which means 36 passengers and a captain.

The captain was injured and taken to the hospital, but Tracey says the injuries were not serious.

He estimated the captain had been with the company for at least two years.

Tracey predicted Ride the Ducks would also be closed Friday.


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