Austin Duck Ad­ven­tures ve­hi­cles help­ing in Houston.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Wil­son md­wil­son@statesman.com Con­tact Mark Wil­son at 512-445-3636.

Am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cles that ferry tourists through Austin’s ma­jor sight­see­ing at­trac­tions are in Houston this week with a mis­sion to de­liver med­i­cal sup­plies to the in­un­dated city.

Austin Duck Ad­ven­tures co-owner Paul Mahler headed to Houston Mon­day night in the first of two duck boats the com­pany sent to join the dis­as­ter re­lief ef­fort.

A sec­ond duck boat left Tues­day morn­ing, said co-owner Robert Geller.

Geller said the com­pany is shut­ting down op­er­a­tions to lend a hand where it can. It has one more boat it could send if of­fi­cials from the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency feel it’s needed.

“It’s go­ing to be a sub­stan­tial hit, es­pe­cially with La­bor Day week­end com­ing up, but it’s the right thing to do,” Geller said. “We’ve got a lot of friends and fam­ily in Houston, and we know they’d be here to help us if the tide was turned the other way.”

Austin Duck Ad­ven­tures’ fleet of am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cles can op­er­ate on road­ways or in deep wa­ter, mak­ing them ideal for travers­ing the flooded neigh­bor­hoods and high­ways spread across much of East Texas in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

“We’re hon­estly glad to be able to help,” Geller said. “I’m not sure how much help we can be, but we waited to hear from the FEMA con­trac­tors and they said, ‘Come over.’ ”

Geller said the first boat sent to Houston is be­ing used to ferry med­i­cal sup­plies through the city. Each boat can hold up to 45 peo­ple.

It is un­clear whether the boats will be used to help clear peo­ple out of neigh­bor­hoods, though Geller said they are per­fectly suited to the task.

RALPH BARRERA/ AMER­I­CAN-STATESMAN

Austin Duck Ad­ven­tures co-owner Robert Geller said the com­pany will take a fi­nan­cial hit from lost busi­ness, but “it’s the right thing to do.”

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