Coast Guard rescues 14 duck boat passengers

The Coast Guard rescued 14 passengers in San Francisco Bay Sunday after steam was spotted coming from the engine compartment of a duck boat.

A tour boat spokesman said a fan belt failed and steam came from the radiator.

The Coast Guard received an anonymous call about 5:27 p.m. on Sunday while the tour boat was under way along the city’s waterfront, and it sent a 45-foot response boat and helicopter. The San Francisco Fire Department also sent a fireboat, said the Coast Guard, which is investigating the incident. No injuries were reported

All passengers were wearing personal flotation devices. The fire suppression system onboard the duck boat had been activated by the vessel’s operator, the Coast Guard said.

The boat, which can hold 37 plus a captain, is one of seven in Ride the Ducks San Francisco fleet, said spokesman Bob Salmon, who expected the boat to be back in service this week.

“We do routine maintenance every 250 hours and inspections every day,” he said.

A Ride the Ducks boats was involved in a high profile accident in July 2010 when the DUKW 34 was struck by the bow of Philadelphia’s 250′ sludge barge The Resource being towed by the K-Sea Transportation Partners 2,400-hp tug Caribbean Sea. Two people were killed.

The duck boat was anchored in the Delaware River navigation channel after the captain saw smoke coming from an air vent. The tug didn’t answer distress calls because the mate piloting it was in the lower rather than upper wheelhouse on his cellphone and laptop dealing with a family emergency.


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