NTSB: Duck boat in Seattle crash didn’t have recommended fix

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5th crash victim dies; NTSB says Duck did not receive recommended safety fix.

SEATTLE — A deadly collision last week in Seattle between a duck boat and a charter bus carrying international college students has prompted a federal investigation. A Seattle duck boat that swerved wildly into an oncoming charter bus last week, killing five people and injuring dozens, did not have an axle repair that was recommended for at least some of the amphibious vehicles in 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday.

Ride the Ducks International, which refurbished the boat in 2005, issued a warning to its customers two years ago about potential axle failure and recommended a specific repair or increased monitoring, NTSB member Earl Weener said. Witnesses described seeing the duck boat’s left front tire lock up Thursday before it veered into the bus on the Aurora Bridge, and federal investigators announced Saturday that they found the duck boat’s left front axle sheared off — though they said it wasn’t clear if the axle had broken before or after the collision. Also on Sunday, a federal investigator said the Duck vehicle involved in the crash didn’t receive a safety fix recommended by the company that refurbishes the amphibious tour vehicles. Authorities have identified the others who were killed as: Runje Song, 17, of China; Privando Putradanto, 18, of Indonesia; Mami Sato, 36, of Japan; and Claudia Derschmidt, 49, of Austria.

Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced Sunday night that the state wants to make it official by suspending the rides pending the outcome of an investigation. The state Utilities and Transportation Commission, which regulates commercial motor carriers, said Sunday that it would inspect all Seattle Duck vehicles and driver records. Tracey said he agreed with that assessment, and the Ducks would stay off the road until “we can demonstrate that our fleet is well-maintained, road-worthy and safe.” He said the company would continue to cooperate fully with investigators.

The warning included specific instructions for inspecting the area where the shaft could fail, as well as instructions for the repair, which involved welding collars around the axle shaft, Weener said. It wasn’t clear what prompted the warning or how the potential failure was discovered, or whether it applied to all duck boats or only those that the company had refurbished, he said. Investigators determined that the vessel, built by the Army in 1944, was not designed for passenger service and as a result lacked the proper buoyancy to remain afloat. Two Hungarian tourists were killed in 2010 when a sightseeing duck boat was hit by a barge on the Delaware River near Philadelphia, sinking it in water about 55 feet deep.

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