Pittsburgh Just Ducky Tour Operators React to Tragedy in Missouri

The company says their boats are safe after 17 people died on a similar vessel in Missouri

Melinda Roeder
July 20, 2018 - 2:32 pm

Melinda Roeder

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - The tragedy in Branson, Missouri has raised concerns about the safety of the vessels and duck boat tourism. 

Chris D’Addorio is co-owner of Just Ducky Tours in Pittsburgh, which is not affiliated with the tour operator in Missouri. D’Addorio says some customers canceled reservations for Friday after hearing about the 17 passengers who died when a duck boat took on water and capsized in Missouri.  He says more customers simply had questions about safety.

“Our vessels never operate more than 250 feet offshore,” says D’Addorio.  He says each Just Ducky boat is equipped with plenty of safety vests and at least two captains onboard.  He also says there are ramps strategically placed along the river to allow the vessels to quickly exit the river if weather or other conditions are unfavorable. The incident in Missouri took place on a lake.  

Passengers who came out to ride the Just Ducky boats Friday morning at Station Square said they were not afraid.  Becky Phillips and her family came into town from Waynesburg to spend the day and take a duck boat tour. “Things like this happen and we understand we take a chance every time we do something like this. So, no, we’re not afraid to go ahead and do it today,” said Phillips.

Karen Crumbis is visiting Pittsburgh from Virginia.  She only found out about the Missouri accident after taking a Just Ducky tour, but says she felt safe the entire ride.

“I thought the team did a great job of going through the procedures. Everything (safety equipment) was visible to all the guests and it was a comfortable environment. They seem professional.”

D’Addorio says he has no plans to change Just Ducky operations or any safety protocols at this time.

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