- Mark D. Wilson American-Statesman Staff
Amphibious vehicles that ferry tourists through Austin’s major sightseeing attractions are in Houston this week with a mission to deliver medical supplies to the inundated city.
Austin Duck Adventures co-owner Paul Mahler headed to Houston on Monday night in the first of two duck boats the company has sent to join the disaster relief effort.
A second duck boat left Tuesday morning, said co-owner Robert Geller.
Geller said the company is shutting down operations to lend a hand where it can, and has one more boat it could send if officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency feel it’s needed.
“It’s going to be a substantial hit, especially with Labor Day weekend coming up, but it’s the right thing to do,” Geller said. “We’ve got a lot of friends and family in Houston, and we know they’d be here to help us if the tide was turned the other way.”
Austin Duck Adventures’ fleet of amphibious vehicles can operate on roadways or in deep water, making them ideal for traversing the flooded neighborhoods and highways spread across much of East Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“We’re honestly glad to be able to help,” Geller said. “I’m not sure how much help we can be, but we waited to hear from the FEMA contractors and they said ‘Come over.’ ”
Geller said the first boat that arrived in Houston is being used to get medical supplies through the city. Each boat can hold up to 45 people.
It is unclear whether the boats will be used to help clear people out of neighborhoods, though Geller said they are perfectly suited to the task.