A motor vehicle crash in Seattle last month resulted in the deaths of 4 college students. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the deadly crash of a duck boat and a charter bus. This is the first time the agency has looked into a land crash of one of these amphibious vehicles that critics say are too dangerous for city streets. The agency has scrutinized the military-style vehicles several times when they have been in accidents on water. Four international students died in the crash last month when the duck boat veered into the oncoming bus on a Seattle bridge causing the crash.
Federal investigators say the left front axle of the duck boat involved in the accident was sheared off, but they don’t know if it was damaged before the collision with the charter bus. The axle has been sent to a federal lab for further examination. Witnesses to the crash said they saw the duck boat’s left tire “lock up” as it swerved into the charter bus.
About 45 students and staff from North Seattle College were traveling to the city’s iconic Pike Place Market and Safeco Field for orientation events when according to witnesses the duck boat suddenly swerved into their oncoming charter bus. The driver of the charter bus has said that the duck boat “careened” into them on the bridge. The four North Seattle College students who were killed from Austria, China, Indonesia and Japan.
Even before the crash, there had been calls for greater oversight and even an outright ban on the military-style vehicles that allow tourists to see cities by road and water. Critics say the large amphibious vehicles are built for war, not for ferrying people on narrow city streets. Many believe duck boats are dangerous both on the land and on the water and shouldn’t be allowed to be used. It appears the Duck Boat involved in the Seattle crash hadn’t received an axle repair that was recommended for the vehicle in 2013. Ride The Ducks International had issued the warning about a potential axle failure and listed a specific needed repair, which was never done for this vehicle.
Reportedly, the company operates 17 amphibious vehicles and employs 35 drivers. The amphibious boats are remnants from when the U.S. Army deployed thousands of amphibious landing craft during World War II. Once the war was over, some were converted to sightseeing vehicles in U.S. cities. The question is: should Duck Boats be allowed to operate on city streets? If I were the decision-maker, the answer would be a resounding no.
Source: Claims Journal
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