Duck boat trips to con­tinue

Austin American-Statesman - - LOCALBRIEFING -

Austin Duck Ad­ven­tures will con­tinue to op­er­ate in the wake of the death of two pas­sen­gers on a stalled duck boat in Philadel­phia this week, the owner said Fri­day.

On Tues­day, Philadel­phi­ans wit­nessed a barge crash into a stalled duck boat be­long­ing to Ride the Ducks, a Nor­cross, Ga., com­pany. Two pas­sen­gers were killed and sev­eral in­jured. Ride the Ducks sus­pended op­er­a­tions at its five other lo­ca­tions — Bran­son, Mo.; New­port, Ky.; San Fran­cisco; Stone Moun­tain Park, Ga.; and Seat­tle, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s web­site.

But Austin Duck Ad­ven­tures, which is in­de­pen­dently owned by Paul Mahler, will con­tinue to op­er­ate. Mahler says other duck boats are of­ten retro­fit­ted World War II am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cles; his two duck boats date to 2007, when he got rid of his three old duck boats and bought Hy­draTer­ras.

He said the Hy­dra-Ter­ras are cer­ti­fied by the U.S. Coast Guard and Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board. And he said the new diesel-pow­ered Hy­dra-Ter­ras are un­likely to stall like the Philadel­phia boats, which con­trib­uted to the crash.

“I’m very con­fi­dent in our ve­hi­cles,” he said, and de­scribed them as “un­sink­able.”

He said he had been ap­proached by Ride the Ducks sev­eral years ago to open a fran­chise but turned down

the com­pany.

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