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Four dead, 12 critical after crash between tour bus and amphibious vehicle

The crash happened on Seattle’s Aurora Bridge at about 7pm Irish time.
Sep 24th 2015, 8:55 PM 20,219 5

seattle2 Source: KOMO

Updated: 8.55 pm

FOUR PEOPLE ARE dead, and 12 are in critical condition, after a major collision between an amphibious “Ride the Ducks” vehicle and a tour bus on a bridge in Seattle.

The crash occurred at around 11 am local time (7pm Irish time) on the Aurora Bridge over Lake Union, in the north-western US city.

A Seattle Fire Department spokesperson said four vehicles were involved: a charter bus (operated by the BellAir company); the Ducks vehicle; and two SUVs.

An initial death toll of two was increased to four at around 12.55 pm local time, with Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins stating that all four had died at the scene.

In addition to the four fatalities and 12 in critical condition, dozens more have been hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries.

seattle3 Source: Seattle Fire Department

According to local station KOMO, the bus – which is believed to have borne the brunt of the collision – was carrying 45 international students and staff from North Seattle College.

John Mundell said he was at the south end of Aurora Avenue bridge when he heard the crash. The side of the charter bus was ripped open from the force of the collision.

“We could hear the screech and twisted metal,” he said. “It was surreal.”

Mundell said he saw what appeared to be a few dozen people on the ground. “I wanted to try to help. I felt helpless.”

Seattle Tour Bus Crash Source: AP

Amphibious tour vehicles – similar to Dublin’s Viking Splash tours – have been involved in crashes elsewhere in the US.

In July, the family of a woman struck and killed by an amphibious tourist boat in Philadelphia filed a wrongful-death lawsuit.

Attorneys for Elizabeth Karnicki’s family allege the accident, which occurred during rush hour on 8 May, was due in part to “huge blind spots” on the Ride The Ducks vehicle.

In 2010, a barge plowed into an amphibious vessel packed with tourists that had stalled in the Delaware River in Philadelphia.

The crash sent all 37 people on the duck boat into the river, but 16-year-old Dora Schwendtner and 20-year-old Szabolcs Prem never resurfaced.

The Hungarians were visiting the United States through a church exchange program; their families filed wrongful-death lawsuits.

Originally published: 8.28 pm

Contains reporting by the Associated Press.

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Dan MacGuill

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