Federal investigators looking into a fatal duck boat collision last year have provided more evidence that transportation and cell phones don’t mix.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says the first mate who was piloting a tugboat in the Delaware River in Philadelphia on July 7, 2010, was on his cell phone when the vessel collided with a Ride the Ducks tourist boat. The collision resulted in the deaths of two Hungarian tourists, ages 16 and 20, who were on the duck boat.
The NTSB says the first mate was on his cell phone because he was consumed with the news that his young son was involved in a life-threatening medical emergency.
Preliminary information released by the NTSB also says the first mate didn’t assign a lookout on the long barge being pushed by the tug.
The crash plunged 35 other people aboard the duck boat into the river.
Phone records show the first mate was on a call he made to his mother’s home when the barge smashed into the duck boat, which was disabled in the river.
That call was one of 21 to or from his parents or his wife in a little over two hours.
The NTSB report doesn’t list a cause of the crash. That’s expected in a final report this summer.
Reports of injuries and fatalities involving vehicle collisions involving cell phones continue to pile up (see Related Stories in the box at right). What needs to be done to decrease these incidents? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.