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Duck Tours fixing blast-causing wires

By Travis Kaya

LAST UPDATED: 1:35 a.m. HST, Sep 5, 2010

This story has been corrected.

Hawaii Duck Tours said repairs of a faulty wiring system that badly burned one of its employees will be completed and ready for a Coast Guard safety inspection by the end of September.

"We're going to make sure that it's going to be explosion-proof from now on," said administrator Rick Nomura. "It's going to be more safe for the passengers."

The Honolulu tour company was ordered by the Coast Guard to make the extensive repairs after one of their two aquatic vessels exploded in a Kakaako warehouse last month, sending one employee to the hospital with severe burns. A joint investigation by the Honolulu Fire Department and Coast Guard determined that the accident was caused by faulty wiring in the vessel's ignition system.

The Coast Guard barred the boats from operating in local waters until the repairs were completed and inspected.

Hawaii Duck Tours has two modified World War II-era Army and Marine Corps trucks that can operate on land and in water. Duck boats were thrust into the spotlight this summer after a Philadelphia ship was struck by a barge on the Delaware River, killing two Hungarian tourists. A duck boat was also involved in a traffic collision in Boston last month.

Despite the accident and ongoing repairs, Duck Tours operators say their vessels are safe.

"It's always going to be safe for the passengers," Nomura said. "We're just trying to make sure everything's in place."



Rick Nomura is the administrator of Hawaii Duck Tours. A Page B4 story stated that he was the company's general manager. The online version has been corrected.

The cause of the July 6 fire aboard the Hawaii Duck Tours boat Hanauma Bay Duck has not been determined. Also, the company is fixing the wires on its boat Pearl Harbor Duck. A headline and article on an earlier version reported faulty wires were to blame for the fire and that the company was fixing the wires on the burned boat.

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