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Boston duck boat crash raises anew safety questions

A woman riding a scooter was struck and killed Saturday by a duck boat, an amphibious sightseeing vehicle, in downtown Boston.

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    An overhead view as duck boats carry Boston Red Sox players across the marathon finish line during the World Series parade on Nov. 2, 2013 as seen from Old South Church in Copley Square.
    Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
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A 29-year-old woman has died after the scooter she was driving was struck by an amphibious sightseeing vehicle in downtown Boston.

The crash happened around 11:30 a.m. Saturday right near the Boston Common, a public park.

A Boston police department spokeswoman said the woman and her male passenger were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where the woman died from her injuries. The passenger suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The spokeswoman says there were about 30 passengers on the vessel, known as a duck boat, when the crash happened. There were no other injuries.

A Boston Duck Tours spokesman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. A person who answered the company's phone declined to comment.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

After four people died when a duck boat driver crashed into a bus in Seattle last September, questions were raised about the safety of the unusual vehicles. 

The Christian Science Monitor reported at the time that there are more reported golf cart fatalities than duck boat deaths. 

Duck boats are a quirky tourist ride with a unique history. Built for sea-to-land invasions during World War II, nowadays the primary use is showing tourists in dozens of cities worldwide the sights from the streets and waterways for their respective cities...

Critics also say the duck boats should not be allowed on the streets because the duck boat tour guides cannot quack - duck tours are known for their fowl entertainment value - and drive at the same time, reports the AP.

"This is a business model that requires the driver to be a driver, tour guide and entertainer at the same time," Steve Bulzomi,  attorney for a motorcyclist who was run over in a duck boat accident in Seattle in 2011, told the AP.

In Boston, the boats have become standard features in parades after major sports championships. 

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