Report: Taxi Accident Preventable

Wednesday, March 08, 2006
The National Transportation Safety Board met in Washington to consider the final report of its investigation into the fatal water taxi accident two years ago this week in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. A water taxi capsized and killed five people in Baltimore Harbor in 2004 because excessive passenger weight made the boat too unstable to withstand a sudden gust of wind, the government said on March 7. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the Coast Guard underestimated the tippiness of the 36-foot Lady D pontoon boat because it had conducted the wrong stability test on the wrong vessel. The Coast Guard also assumed the average weight per passenger was 140 pounds, a standard that hasn't changed since 1942, the safety board said. The average weight among the Lady D's 25 passengers when the accident happened was 168 pounds, making it 700 pounds overweight. The Coast Guard has implemented a more detailed stability test for pontoon boats like the Lady D as a result of the accident. In October, the Coast Guard contracted for a one-year study to assess what would happen if the assumptions about people's average weight were changed. (Source:

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