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No major injuries reported after duck boat, car collide in downtown Boston

In what witnesses said was a slow-speed crash, a Boston Duck Tours duck boat collided with an Audi A4 sedan outside the Old State House in downtown Boston.
In what witnesses said was a slow-speed crash, a Boston Duck Tours duck boat collided with an Audi A4 sedan outside the Old State House in downtown Boston. (Eva Maldonado)

In what witnesses said was a slow-speed crash, a Boston Duck Tours duck boat collided with an Audi A4 sedan outside the Old State House in downtown Boston shortly before 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The woman operating the Audi was taken to a Boston hospital for evaluation. Authorities said she suffered minor injuries, and no one else was hurt.

The accident was cleared by about 2:30 p.m.

Boston police said the cause of the crash was under investigation, and a Duck Tours spokesman said via e-mail that “unconfirmed reports from witnesses on site said the Duck was not a fault.”

The duck boat, called the Liberty Teresa, and the white Audi were both traveling down State Street toward the Old State House when the Audi driver apparently lost control while changing lanes, said Wayne Liu, a Needham resident who saw the crash as he crossed the street.

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“It was a very soft crash,” Liu said. “Both sides, they braked, and actually, the white car stopped completely before the duck boat, and the duck boat already braked and hit the car slowly.”

Several people on the duck boat said they did not even feel the crash.

The woman driving the Audi sedan was very shaken, Liu said, but she didn’t seem injured.

Passengers on board the popular tourist attraction stayed on for nearly half an hour until another duck boat arrived to pick them up.

Matt Gelman of Washington, D.C., said he heard “screeching” at the time of the crash.

“I heard a lot of screeching when the white car turned, but it wasn’t going very fast,” Gelman said.

He said he saw the Audi driver exit after the crash.

“She was scared, and then our [duck boat] driver jumped down, but we weren’t going very fast when it hit,” Gelman said. “. . . It looks like we were merging together in the same spot.”

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Jennifer Krakovsky, a New Jersey resident in town with her family for the Sox-Yankees game, said she was standing by the intersection of State and Congress streets when the crash occurred.

She said it appeared both vehicles were trying to merge into the same lane when “the duck boat hit the back of the car and made it twist,” pushing it up the road for about 10 feet.

“It was sort of like a T-bone type of thing,” she said. “It was a weird screeching sound.”

Bruce Baxter of Haverhill said he was seated in the front row of the duck boat and felt a “light bump” at the time of the crash.

“This could have been a lot worse,” Baxter said.

He credited the duck boat driver with taking “every evasive opportunity that she had to prevent this from being far worse than it was.”

The scene was cleared shortly after 2:30 p.m. Boston Police Captain Kenneth Fong, who heads the District A-1 station, referred a reporter to the department’s media relations staff.

Boston Duck Tours employees at the scene, including one wearing a tag that said “driver,” declined to comment.

The lumbering duck boats, originally designed to ferry troops from ship to shore during World War II, were required to change operating procedures following the April 2016 death of Allison Warmuth who was riding a moped when she was fatally struck near the intersection of Beacon and Charles streets.

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Also in July 2016, the driver of a duck boat was cited by Boston police for failing to yield to a pedestrian crossing Newbury and Clarendon streets, the Globe has reported.

And in August 2016, a duck boat with 20 passengers on board struck an overpass on Storrow Drive. No injuries were reported.

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Andres Picon can be reached at andres.picon@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andpicon.