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Accident Report Detail

Amphibious Passenger Vehicle DUCK 6 Lane Crossover Collision With Motorcoach on State Route 99, Aurora Bridge

Executive Summary

​On Thursday, September 24, 2015, about 11:11 a.m. Pacific daylight time, the 2005 DUCK 6 amphibious passenger vehicle (APV) was traveling north on the Washington State Route 99 Aurora Bridge in Seattle, Washington. At the same time, a 2009 Motor Coach Industries motorcoach was traveling south in the center lane. The DUCK 6 driver heard a loud noise at the left front of the APV; the vehicle drifted to the right and then veered left suddenly; the driver lost control of the vehicle. The APV crossed the center line into the southbound lanes of oncoming traffic and struck the motorcoach.

Three other vehicles were damaged during the crash event: a southbound 2011 Ram Trucks pickup truck and two northbound vehicles—a 2006 Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle and a 2007 Toyota Tundra pickup truck. As a result of this crash, five motorcoach passengers died. Seventy-one motorcoach and APV occupants reported injuries ranging from minor to serious.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Seattle, Washington, crash was the mechanical failure, due to improper manufacturing by Ride the Ducks International (vehicle manufacturer) and inadequate maintenance by Ride the Ducks of Seattle (operator), of the left front axle housing of the stretch amphibious passenger vehicle (APV) DUCK 6, which resulted in loss of vehicle control. Contributing to the severity of the motorcoach occupant injuries was the APV’s structural incompatibility with the motorcoach, causing intrusion into the motorcoach sidewall, windows, and interior passenger compartment. Contributing to the severity of the APV passenger injuries were the lack of occupant crash protections and the high impact forces.

Accident Location: Seattle , WA USA  
Accident Date: 9/24/2015
Accident ID: HWY15MH011

Date Adopted: 11/15/2016
NTSB Number: HAR1602
NTIS Number: PB2017-100408