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Towboat operator pleads guilty in fatal Duck Boat accident

Count of misconduct of a ship operator causing death Matthew R. Devlin was charged today in an information with one count of misconduct of a ship operator causing death, in relation to the "Duck boat" accident on the Delaware River on July 7, 2010, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger and Special Agent-in-Charge William P. Hicks, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service.In this accident, the barge The Resource, which was towed by the towing vessel M/V Caribbean Sea piloted by defendant Devlin, ran over a boat operated by the tourism company Ride the Ducks International LLC. As a result, two passengers on the Duck boat who were visiting from Hungary, Szabolcs Prem, 20, and Dora Schwendtner, 16, were killed.Devlin, 35, of Catskill, New York, was charged under a federal criminal statute (Section 1115 of Title 18 of the United States Code) applicable to involuntary manslaughter committed by the operator of a vessel.The information alleges that "for an extended period of time prior to the collision, was distracted by his use of a cell phone and a laptop computer to attend to personal matters; elected to pilot the Caribbean Sea from its lower wheelhouse, where he had significantly reduced visibility in ...

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