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Investigator says warning sent 2 years before deadly Seattle duck boat crash

KCPQ-TV

KCPQ-TV

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board says Ride the Ducks International sent out an urgent service bulletin in 2013 alerting operators about problems with the axle housing of the amphibious passenger vehicles.

In 2015, one of the boats was involved in a crash in Seattle that left five people died and 69 people injured. Earlier Tuesday, NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said the Ride the Ducks vehicle had a fractured left axle housing.

The NTSB said at a meeting about the crash that a copy of the service bulletin was found in the Seattle company’s office, but its investigation determined the operators didn’t fix the problems.

Investigator Brian Bragonier says Ride the Ducks Seattle lacked the protocols to ensure that maintenance was completed properly and didn’t address the known risk of an axle housing failure.

Another investigator said the recommendations in the bulletin may not have adequately fixed the problems with the axle.

The broken axle caused the driver to lose control and the Duck vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic.