Seattle’s lakes, channels, and waterways have made combined land and water tours on amphibious vehicles very popular. But even before the most recent deadly Ride the Ducks vehicle accident, there was sharp criticism of the safety record of the large, vintage land-tour vehicles, which were originally built for use by the U.S. Army in World War II, not for taking passenger tours of city streets and waterways.
In addition to being antiquated, awkwardly designed vehicles, Ride the Ducks requires its drivers to simultaneously be a driver, tour guide, and entertainer. These factors combine to create inherently unsafe conditions for passengers on Ride the Ducks vehicle tours.
Here’s a list of the top five worst Duck vehicle accidents:
5. Seattle is no stranger to Ride the Ducks accidents. On October 11, 2011 in Seattle, a Ducks vehicle struck a motorcyclist. The motorcyclist was dragged at a red light and suffered critical injuries.
There were also two other collisions in the year prior to this serious injury accident. In December 2010 and June 2011, Ride the Ducks vehicles rear ended cars. In both cases, according to the Seattle Police collision reports, Duck drivers didn’t see the cars in front of them because of the height of their vehicles.
4. In 2010 in Philadelphia, a Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle stalled on the Delaware River and was run over by a barge. Two passengers died in the accident. 33 passengers and two crew members were rescued.
3. In 2002, a vehicle operated by Lady Duck, which was a Ford F-350 pickup truck converted into an amphibious vehicle sank while out on the Ottawa River in Ontario, Canada. Four passengers on the vehicle died when they drowned after being trapped under the sunken vehicle’s canopy. The vehicle was not technically a Duck but was built to be an amphibious vehicle.
2. On September 24, 2015, a Ride the Ducks vehicle swerved out of its lane and crashed into a charter bus on Seattle’s Aurora Bridge. This is still a developing accident but to date, five passengers on the charter bus were killed, and at least 14 more seriously injured and hospitalized. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Ducks bus involved in the crash sustained a sheared axle.
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1. In 1999, 13 people were killed (20 people were on board) in Hot Springs, Arkansas when a Duck boat named ‘Miss Majestic’ sank.
THE SEATTLE CRASH INVESTIGATION
In the deadly Seattle crash, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating and has found that the Duck vehicle involved in the crash had a sheared axle. Ride the Ducks International issued the warning to repair axles on the vehicles in 2013, but reports have have also indicated that Ride the Ducks Seattle may have failed to perform the recommend axle repairs on the amphibious vehicle.
Consequently, the State of Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission voted to suspend operations of Ride the Ducks Seattle, which is in effect. Ride the Ducks Seattle is independently owned and operated, and had operated 17 of the amphibious vehicles in the city.
Victims and Their Families Can Protect Their Legal Rights
It’s important for injured accident victims and surviving family members to protect their legal rights. The medical bills, lost wages, and other damages resulting from accidents can be substantial. At-fault parties and insurance companies fight vigorously for their own financial interests, not the rights of the injured, the deceased, or their families.
Bishop Legal has experience successfully pursing damages for seriously injured victims and families resulting from collisions with poorly designed or improperly maintained malfunctioning vehicles. In 2015, Raymond Bishop and the Bishop Legal trial team attained a $40 million verdict against the Port of Seattle (Sea-Tac Airport) for a critically injured driver of a poorly maintained industrial vehicle, which similarly had faulty mechanics, and lacked necessary safety features.