Citing the high cost of insurance, the owners of the Ride the Ducks amphibious tours of Philadelphia have announced the shutdown of operations for the foreseeable future. In a statement on its website, the company indicated that, as of October 5, 2016, Ride the Ducks Philadelphia had suspended operations indefinitely.
The company said, “Due to circumstances outside of our control including a 330 percent increase in our insurance premiums, continued operations in Philadelphia are not financially feasible at this time. We enjoyed serving the people of Philadelphia since 2003, serving over one million guests during that time. We are working with the 42 full and part-time employees from our Philadelphia location offering severance and outplacement assistance.”
The closure ends a bumpy Philadelphia experience for Ride the Ducks:
—Last year, on May 8, 2015, one of the company’s boats struck and killed a visitor from Texas during the evening rush hour as she was crossing the street at 11th and Arch Streets downtown. Eyewitnesses said the visitor, Elizabeth Karnicki, crossed against the light; her family’s lawsuit says a poorly set up traffic light was partly to blame. (An attorney for Karnicki’s family said the announcement that Ride the Ducks was shutting down operations would not affect his pending lawsuit against the company, which is in the pre-trial discovery phase.)
—The Karnicki incident came more than five years after a July 7, 2010 incident in which a sludge barge towed by a tugboat plowed into a disabled, 33-foot Ride the Ducks boat as it was riding on the Delaware River, plunging the amphibious vessel and its 35 passengers and two crew members underwater. Two Hungarian students died as a result of the crash. Families of the two students later received a $17 million settlement, which was divided between them. The other passengers received a total of $2 million.
There are other Ride the Ducks operations in Branson, Missouri; Newport, Kentucky; and Stone Mountain, Georgia.