Horrifying new footage was seen for the first time today of the moment a barge slammed into a tour boat drowning two college students.
Dora Schwendtner, 16, and Szabolcs Prem, 20, died when a barge collided with a
duck boat on the Delaware River in July 2010, causing 37 people to be thrown into the water. The video - released days before a wrongful death suit goes to court -
shows the 80-yard-long barge moving toward the duck boat, which had broken down, and then driving over the smaller vessel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Moments before the fatal collision, in the footage obtained by NBC, the deckhand on the duck boat appears to be engrossed in his cell phone sending a text message.
Attorneys for the parents of the two Hungarian foreign exchange students who died
released the tape days before a civil wrongful death lawsuit goes to federal court. The tour leader can be seen leaping from the vessel as those on board, none wearing their orange life jackets, flail around in terror. Attorneys for the victims' families have said the vessel lacked an emergency air horn and radio and had overhead canopies that trapped the two victims underwater when the boat capsized. They also say passengers were not made to wear life preservers until moments before the crash.
Dora Schwendtner, 16, and Szabolcs Prem, 20, were killed on July 7 when the barge slammed into the boat about 150 feet from the shore. The 35 other tourists survived when pulled from the fast-moving current by firefighters and a passing ferry boat. Miss Schwendtner and Mr Prem were both described as strong swimmers by their families.
They were touring the U.S. with their high school through a church-sponsored exchange program.
The video, which shows the impact of the barge and tour boat from the New Jersey side of the river, was part of the official record compiled by the National Transportation Safety Board who investigated the crash.
The families have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against K-Sea Transportation of East Brunswick which operated the tugboat guiding the barge. They were also suing Ride the Ducks of Norcross, Georgia, which operated the tour boat and the city of Philadelphia which owned the barge.