Four people were killed and several others remain in critical condition after a duck boat and a charter bus collided on a Seattle bridge on Thursday.
Witnesses told KOMO News that the Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle plowed into the side of a BellAir tour bus full of international college students on Aurora Bridge around 11 am. The Seattle Fire Department reported that four people were killed and over 44 patients were transported to area hospitals with critical and serious injuries.
Lt. Sue Stangl of the Seattle Fire Department said that “the majority of the significant injuries occurred on the bus” – including two fatalities. The bus was carrying 45 international students and staff from North Seattle Community College, a college spokesperson confirmed.
“Seattle had a terrible tragedy today,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said during a press conference. “There has been loss of life and dozens of injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, those injured and their loved ones.
Authorities have yet to say what caused the crash. Witness Jesse Christenson told King 5 that the tour vehicle seemed to “lurch suddenly.”
“The Duck boat was signaling to enter the left lane,” Christenson said. “As it was making its turn to enter the left lane, it seemed to lurch suddenly. I saw a bunch of smoke and what appeared to be the front, left wheel pop off. It clipped a smaller SUV and basically almost t-boned into the oncoming bus and spun around.”
Two other passenger vehicles were caught in the wreck, Seattlepi reports. It wasn’t clear if passengers in those vehicles were injured.
According to the Seattle Times, Ride the Ducks has been involved in two other collisions – rear-ending passenger vehicles in December 2010 and June 2011. While no injuries occurred in either accident, both drivers told officers they didn’t see the cars because of the height of their vehicles.
A spokesperson for Ride the Ducks said the tour company has suspended operations for the rest of the day, KOMO News reports.
“We feel absolutely horrified that anyone was injured, anybody’s life was taken,” Ride the Ducks Seattle franchise owner Bryan Tracy told KOMO. “Right now we’re just trying to get the answers in what happened, and how it happened.”