The members of the Utilities and Transportation Commission gathered together in an urgent meeting to remove all the military “duck boats” owned by Ride the Ducks by Seattle from the streets for the time being, according to the Associated Press. Authorities are looking into whether axle failure caused the crash; the vehicle’s front left axle was found sheared off, but it’s not clear if it broke before the collision or during it. For now at least, Seattleites won’t be seeing the familiar sight (and hearing the familiar sounds) of Ride the Duck vehicles around town.
“Because of the possibility of continuing safety problems and a current lack of confidence surrounding the company’s operations, we believe it is important to act immediately to protect the public safety”, commission chairman David Danner said.
“This fix was not on this particular duck”, Weener said, although he added it was unclear whether the Seattle franchise actually received the warning from Ride the Ducks worldwide in 2013.
A former mechanic for Ride the Ducks who inspected the axle in the months after the Atlanta company issued the October 2013 service bulletin told The Seattle Times on Tuesday he “never heard anything about” such a safety advisory in the two years he worked for the company.
The complaint also noted that an area of concern in the UTC’s investigation is “a potentially risky failure point in the axle housing of (Ride the Ducks’) tour vehicles”.
Five North Seattle College students were killed and dozens more people were injured when Duck No. 6 swerved, crossed the narrow Aurora Bridge’s centerline and careened into a bus owned by Bellair Charters & Airporter.
Four worldwide college students died at the scene, and a fifth – identified as a 20-year-old woman – died Sunday.
Weener described Ride the Ducks of Seattle as cooperative, and said the company had turned over training records and maintenance documents for the duck. At least 13 people remained hospitalized Sunday.
“We need to verify that and understand what it means”, said Pratt.
The amphibious vehicle tours are offered around the world, including in Philadelphia; Austin, Texas; Miami; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and London.
A representative of the Seattle duck tour company said he did not have any immediate comment on the NTSB’s account.