Duck boat in Seattle crash didn’t have recommended fix from 2013, NTSB says

from Mashable

Ap_461518198083A charter bus, left, and an amphibious, military-style tour vehicle after colliding in a deadly crash involving several vehicles Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Seattle.

Image: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press
By The Associated Press2015-09-28 00:49:20 UTC

A duck boat involved in a deadly Seattle traffic crash did not have an axle repair that was recommended for the amphibious vehicle in 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Sunday.

NTSB member Earl Weener said investigators only recently learned that Ride the Ducks International issued the warning about potential axle failure and recommended a specific repair two years ago. But he said the boat involved in Seattle crash didn’t have the fix.

It’s unclear if the company that owns the vehicle — Ride the Ducks of Seattle — was aware of the warning, Weener said at a news conference. Interviews with the drivers involved in the accident will happen this week, he added.

A representative of the Seattle duck tour company said he did not have any immediate comment on the NTSB’s account.

Investigators said Saturday that the left front axle of the duck boat was sheared off, but they hadn’t determined if that damage happened before the collision or during it.

About 45 students and staff from North Seattle College were on the bus on the Aurora Bridge when the tourist-carrying duck boat swerved into it. The crash killed five people, the latest death coming on Sunday when a 20-year-old died from injuries sustained in the crash. All five deaths were students at the school. More than 50 people were taken to hospitals. At least 16 people remained at Seattle hospitals Sunday, with five in intensive care and one in critical condition.

The federal probe is expected to take months.

It’s the first time the NTSB has looked into a land crash of the amphibious vehicles, which critics say are too dangerous for city streets. The federal agency has scrutinized duck tour vehicles several times when they’ve been in accidents on water.

State regulators also have opened an investigation, which entails inspecting all vehicle and driver records.

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.

Ride the Ducks International refurbished the vehicle in 2005.

Additional reporting by Mashable

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