Nine Injured When Tour Boat Hits Dock on Chicago River

The last place anyone expects to visit while on vacation is the hospital. Unfortunately, nine people who were taking a boat tour of the city ended up taking an impromptu tour of the local ER when their tour boat crashed, the Chicago Tribune reports.

On Monday, the Wendella Boat Tour vessel “The Lila” hit a concrete dock near the Michigan Avenue bridge on the Chicago River. Seven people were taken in good condition and two others in fair-to-serious condition to Rush University Medical Center and Saint Joseph Hospital, according to authorities. Those who were seriously injured in the crash may end up suing Wendella to receive compensation for their injuries.

The two-level boat reportedly lost power while pulling in, causing it to collide at full speed with the concrete dock. “We realized it was coming in too fast,” passenger Fern Furst said. “It crashed and people on both the upper and lower deck went flying.”

Furst’s husband suffered a knee injury in the accident, the Tribune reports. Many passengers were reportedly left bruised and bloody after the incident. One passenger left with a neck brace on and several others were carried out on stretchers.

The injured passengers may want to file civil lawsuits against Wendella in order to be compensated for their injuries. As a company that carries passengers around the city on boat tours, Wendella would likely be considered a “common carrier.” Common carriers are often held strictly liable for any negligent acts that injure their passengers.

Wendella will likely contend that it shouldn’t be held liable for the accident because the boat’s power failure was an “act of God,” or a occurrence that was out of the company’s control. However, the injured passengers could argue that Wendella was negligent in failing to adequately maintain their vessels or provide a backup power supply.

If the passengers are able to show negligence on the part of Wendella Boat Tours, they may be able to receive compensation for all of their expenses under the rules of strict liability. Wendella and the U.S. Coast Guard are currently conducting a full investigation of the accident.

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