Feds: Axle from duck boat in deadly crash ‘sheared off’

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Feds: Axle from duck boat in deadly crash ‘sheared off’.

The left front axle of the duck boat involved in a deadly Seattle accident was sheared off, but federal investigators said Saturday they don’t know if it was damaged before the collision with a charter bus that killed four international college students. Students from Japan, China, Indonesia and Austria were identified as the four people killed in a collision between a bus and a tourist vehicle the previous day in Seattle, according to an announcement from the victims’ school. In a news conference Saturday evening, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member Earl Weener said investigators haven’t determined what caused the axle to break or concluded that it was a cause of the crash. North Seattle College, which chartered the bus, said the victims were Mami Sato, a 36-year-old woman from Japan, Privando Putradanto, an 18-year-old man from Indonesia, Claudia Derschmidt, a 49-year-old woman from Austria, and a Chinese national whose name was withheld as a minor. The Japanese Consulate in Seattle confirmed the information about Sato and said four other Japanese were being treated at hospitals but their conditions were not life-threatening.

Brown said her operation hasn’t changed any procedures, but the owners and safety team would evaluate the situation after the federal investigation is complete. The NTSB has previously investigated at least two multiple-fatality accidents involving Duck vehicles in other states, both of which occurred on water. The amphibious vehicle involved in the crash — known as Duck No. 6 — underwent regular annual examinations by a federally certified inspector, most recently in 2015 and 2014, and met federal standards, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission spokeswoman Amanda Maxwell said. He said the red fluid found splattered on the inside of the Duck’s wheel well likely came from the transmission, but investigators haven’t reached a final determination on that.

Officials said the company is also required to conduct its own, federally certified annual inspections on each vehicle, and the UTC said records show the company has met that standard. Barb Graff, Seattle’s director of the Office Emergency Management, said a private location has been established for families of the deceased and injured, where city, county and Red Cross workers are offering assistance and mental health counseling. Several hotels in Seattle are making rooms available to the families free of charge, Graff said, and Delta and Alaska airlines are helping with flights.

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