Tour Vehicle, Charter Bus Collide On Seattle Bridge; 4 Dead

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4 dead, 2 critically injured in collision between Ride the Ducks vehicle, charter bus on Aurora Bridge.

Four North Seattle College students were killed and numerous others have been injured in a collision between a Ride the Ducks tour vehicle and a charter bus on the Aurora Bridge.

WARNING: Contains graphic images. (Seattle Times Staff) Update at 7:30 p.m.: A 17-member, interdisciplinary team from the National Transportation Safety Board, along with an NTSB board member, are due to arrive in Seattle Friday to begin their inquiry into the crash. The company that owns the Seattle amphibious vehicle says its pilots are Coast Guard-certified captains and also have commercial driver’s licenses that allow them to drive on the road. “Don’t fret, before you even step on board your fun-filled tour of Seattle, your Captain has completed an intense and rigorous training program!” the company says on its website. Many of the injured were on the bus, which was carrying 45 students and employees from North Seattle College’s international program, said school spokeswoman Melissa Mixon. Murray said he said he expects city officials, including himself, will make themselves available to meet with families of those who have been killed or injured. I felt helpless.” Bloodworks Northwest, a blood-donation organization, issued an urgent appeal for donors, saying the need for transfusions for crash victims was straining their supply.

But it is too early at this point to draw any conclusions as to the cause of this accident.” After the police complete their investigation, Seattle Transportation crews will inspect the bridge surface and its underside to see if it can be safely reopened, said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. He saw people who had been thrown from the bus lying in blood, and others “desperate to try to find their loved ones.” “It just really takes it out of you when you see a paramedic walk up to a lady and put his fingers on her neck and her wrist and she is not breathing,” he said. “When you’ve got people on the yellow tarp and people on the red tarp and the people on the red tarp are dying, it is pretty dramatic.” The Gesners were in town from Orlando visiting Susan’s son who moved here last year, and were excited to ride the duck. Mayor Ed Murray, appearing at a news conference near the accident scene, said it was too early to provide many details. “This is a terrible tragedy,” he said. “There is no fast way to move forward on this.” The cantilever and truss span—commonly called the Aurora Bridge—has been the scene of other major accidents over the years, in part officials say because the opposing lanes aren’t separated by a median barrier.

Lying in the emergency room at Virginia Mason Medical Center after the crash, Gesner said now he is relieved they were the last to arrive for their 10:30 a.m. tour, because it put them in the very back of the duck. 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. Brian Tracey, its president and chief executive officer, told KING 5 the accident was “devastating,” but added the company has a good safety record in Seattle. “We train, train and retrain,” he said. Wu said when he learned of the accident, he came to the school. “These are military craft that were never designed to navigate narrow city streets,” Bulzomi said Thursday. “This is a business model that requires the driver to be a driver, tour guide and entertainer at the same time. Area hospitals generally have a sufficient supply to meet the demands of such emergencies, but with so many injuries in a concentrated time and location, donors are needed to build reserves back up quickly. “The Aurora Bridge in either direction is the scariest part of the trip because the lanes are so narrow and there is so much traffic,” the driver, who asked not to be named, wrote in an email. “I remember being told in training that the Duck would fit in a lane but that if you felt safer to go ahead and straddle over the line some (if the next lane was open, of course.) Most drivers stayed in the far right lanes, never passed on the bridge. “The driver is operating a 26,000-pound vehicle that is very wide with a max of 36 lives in your hands.

He had been stopped at a traffic signal, and when the light turned green, he was suddenly overtaken by the duck boat — which only stopped when pedestrians began banging on the hull and screaming at the driver. A witness described the amphibious Duck vehicle, which was headed north, swerving and hitting an SUV before colliding with and ripping out the side of the southbound bus.

At the time, Porter’s lawyer turned up two other recent cases in which duck boats had rear-ended vehicles at stoplights — and in both cases, the drivers told police they couldn’t see the other vehicle because of the height of their own, collision reports said. Attorneys for Elizabeth Karnicki’s family allege the May 8 accident, which occurred during rush hour, was due in part to “huge blind spots” on the duck boats.

College President Warren Brown said the passengers were part of a new-student-orientation group that was heading to Safeco Field and potentially to Pike Place Market after that. Ride the Ducks’ Seattle headquarters was closed after the accident, and president Brian Tracey said he is “trying to get more information, just like you.” The distinctive, six-wheeled amphibious vehicles are a common sight around Seattle, particularly in summer.

They transport tourists on what’s described as a “party on wheels,” with singalongs and a route that includes Pioneer Square, the Seattle waterfront and a plunge into Lake Union. People laying in the street.” Bellair issued a statement Thursday afternoon that read, in part, “We are devastated and heartbroken by the fatalities. Bellair Charters, based in Ferndale, Whatcom County, was last inspected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2013 and received a satisfactory rating, according to the UTC. Update at 2:13 p.m.: Harborview Medical Center update from spokeswoman Susan Gregg: 17 at Harborview, eight critical, eight serious, one satisfactory — of those, three are in surgery. Trinidad Alcaraz, security and EMT manager at the zoo, said the 25 people at the zoo were all young, and all were examined by the zoo’s security staff and emergency-medical technicians.

He said it appeared there was something wrong with the Duck’s front left tire, which had red fluid leaking from it. “It all happened so fast,” said Volm, who was on a cross-country trip with his friend Bradley Sawhill. “I got out of my car and there were bodies just everywhere. The other 30 patients are less seriously injured and were triaged to local hospitals, including UW Medical Center and Northwest Hospital & Medical Center. Sue Stangl, spokeswoman for the Seattle Fire Department, said Harborview would receive the “tragic, trauma-type injuries” because it is the region’s trauma center. The company was involved in two other collisions in recent years, in December 2010 and June 2011, when different Duck drivers rear-ended passenger vehicles at Third Avenue and Pike Street and at Aurora Avenue North and Denny Way.

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