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October 06, 2016

Ride the Ducks Philadelphia closes indefinitely

Tour service was subject of lawsuits for fatal incidents

Ride the Ducks Philadelphia is no more.

In a brief statement on the company's website, the tour service said that as of Oct. 5, it has suspended operations indefinitely.

"Due to circumstances outside of our control including a 330% increase in our insurance premiums, continued operations in Philadelphia are not financially feasible at this time," the statement read.

Ride the Ducks, which operates land and sea tours in several cities with amphibious vehicles, has been plagued by incidents and subsequent lawsuits in recent years.

In 2010, two Hungarian students, ages 16 and 20, were killed when a barge slammed into a disabled Ride the Ducks tour boat on the Delaware River.

The families of the two tourists killed received a $15 million settlement from the incident, and 20 other victims who were on board split a $2 million settlement.

RELATED: Ride the Ducks sued by family of killed pedestrian

Robert Mongeluzzi, a Philadelphia attorney of the law firm Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett and Bendesky (SMBB), who represented the families of the two students, welcomed the news in a statement Wednesday, saying the city was "safer" without the tour vehicles.

"Through our extensive experience representing victims of duck boat disasters we’ve determined those vehicles are fatally flawed; they’re death traps on the water due to their hazardous canopy design and on land they are engineered to restrict the peripheral vision of the operator, creating significant blind spots," Mongeluzzi said.

Mongeluzzi is currently representing the family of Elizabeth Karnicki, 68, of Texas, who was struck and killed by a Ride the Ducks vehicle on May 8, 2015, while crossing the intersection at 11th and Arch streets.

Andrew R. Duffy, of SMBB, said the closure would have “absolutely no impact on the litigation."

Another incident in Seattle last year left five international students dead. Multiple lawsuits against the company have been filed over the deadly event in which a Ride the Ducks vehicle crashed into a charter bus.

Ride the Ducks said that it is offering outplacement assistance for its 42 full- and part-time employees in Philadelphia.

"We enjoyed serving the people of Philadelphia since 2003, serving over one million guests during that time," the company's statement read.