SEATTLE -- Ride the Ducks Seattle is back on the road offering tours again for the first time since a tragic accident killed five people on the Aurora Bridge.
It’s been nearly four months since that deadly crash but now the company has new safety measures in place, and the tour boats have a new route.
“We’re thrilled,” said RTDS CEO Brian Tracey. “Absolutely thrilled that we’re up and running.”
State regulators shut the company down back in September after a duck boat crashed into a charter bus carrying international students on the Aurora Bridge. Fiver people were killed and dozens more injured.
The NTSB said the duck’s front axel sheered off, and could be the cause of the crash.
A state investigation later found the company had not shored up front axles on its vehicles as recommended in a service bulletin. And, investigators found more than 400 safety violations. Still, regulators allowed the company to put half of its fleet back on the road.
City officials required RTDS to add another crewmember to each boat, which means the tour guide entertains customers while the driver focuses on the road and on the water.
Also, the company no longer crosses the Aurora Bridge. Instead the duck boats go over the Fremont Bridge.
But not everyone thinks that’s a good idea.
“Are our memories so short of what happened that we’re okay with this?” said attorney Karen Coehler.
Coehler represents several people seriously injured during the crash. Phuong Dinh is learning to walk again.
“I saw my leg, the bone was outside my leg -- so painful,” Dinh said.
Coehler believes RTDS should be closed for good.
“Being pressured to come up with a solution for that company on such a fast track, bothers me. What’s the rush?” she said.
RTDS has until the end of January to file a new safety plan with state regulators, detailing how it plans to make sure another crash doesn’t happen again.