Tug pilot pleads guilty in Pa. duck boat crash

By KATHY MATHESON | August 1, 2011 | 3:13 PM EDT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A tug boat pilot who was behind the wheel of a barge that crashed into a Philadelphia duck boat filled with tourists, killing two of them, has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

The 35-year-old pilot appeared Monday in federal court in Philadelphia. He will be sentenced Nov. 1.

Authorities say Matt Devlin was repeatedly using his cellphone and a laptop computer while guiding a barge that hit a duck boat filled with tourists. Two Hungarian students died in the accident.

Devlin of Catskill, N.Y., was consumed with a family emergency as he steered a huge barge up the Delaware River last summer.

Prosecutors announced last month that Devlin had agreed to plead guilty to misconduct of a ship operator causing death, the maritime law equivalent of involuntary manslaughter.