2016-11-16 (1)2016-11-16 (3)Nov. 16, 2016

An NTSB report regarding a Sept. 24, 2015 crash of a Seattle “Ride the Duck” amphibious Duck Boat and a motorcoach and three other vehicles on the Aurora Bridge has been released.  Here is the text of the NTSB Report:

The National Transportation Safety Board determined Tuesday that the 
mechanical failure of the left front axle of an amphibious passenger vehicle is the 
probable cause of a fatal 2015 collision involving the amphibious passenger vehicle, a 
motorcoach and three passenger vehicles on the Aurora Bridge, in Seattle, Washington. 
Improper manufacturing by Ride the Ducks International, the vehicle manufacturer, and 
inadequate maintenance by Ride the Ducks of Seattle, the vehicle owner and operator,  
resulted in the axle failure that subsequently led to the loss of vehicle control, 
according to the NTSB's final report. 

The lane crossover crash occurred when the driver of the DUCK 6 amphibious passenger 
vehicle lost control while traveling northbound across the Aurora Bridge, and veered into 
the southbound center lane, where the motorcoach was traveling.  The DUCK 6 struck the 
motorcoach, killing five motorcoach passengers and injuring 71 others on both vehicles.  
Three other vehicles were damaged during the crash sequence. 

Contributing to the passenger injuries were the lack of occupant crash protections for 
the amphibious passenger vehicle and the high impact forces of the crash.  Occupant 
protection is an issue area on the NTSB Most Wanted List of safety improvements. 

This was not a case of an impaired, fatigued, or distracted driver or of any 
inappropriate actions by either driver. Rather, the crash was due to a mechanical failure 
on the amphibious passenger vehicle that should have been addressed, said NTSB 
Chairman Christopher A. Hart. This crash is a cautionary tale of what can happen when 
a manufacturer does not follow established rules about fixing safety defects.

The report also examined a 2016 accident in Boston involving a motor scooter and a 
37-passenger amphibious passenger vehicle in which one person died and another was 
injured.   The result of this crash investigation raised concerns regarding risk 
management practices which were also a safety issue in the Seattle crash investigation. 
As result of the Seattle investigation, the NTSB issued nine safety recommendations to 
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three to the U.S. Coast Guard, three 
to Ride the Ducks International, one to Ride the Ducks of Seattle, and one to the 
Passenger Vessel Association. The recommendations address issues including the failure of 
a vehicle manufacturer to properly address safety defects through the regulatory recall 
process, lack of adequate oversight of amphibious passenger vehicle maintenance and 
failure to conduct effective safety repairs as recommended in service bulletins, lack 
adequate occupant protection in amphibious passenger vehicles used in commercial 
passenger tours, and risk management in amphibious passenger vehicle operations.

To view findings, probable cause, and all recommendations, click on the following link: ht

The docket material for the Seattle crash investigation – which contains interview 
summaries, investigative group factual reports, relevant photos, maintenance records, and 
a video study from a surveillance camera that captured the final crash sequence  is  
also available online at http://go.usa.gov/xkF4d.  

NTSB Summary Report