By John Cooper, Trucking Accident Attorney
When we think of truck crashes, we often think about 18 wheelers and box trucks. However, there are some other hybrid vehicles on the roads and even the waterways that may be dealt with in the same way as a truck crash after an incident.
A case in point is a “duck boat” vehicle that crashed into a bus full of college students in Seattle on Sep. 24, causing the death of five students and serious injuries to many others.
Recently, Courthouse News Service reported on how a Korean student who was hurt in the crash on the bridge is suing a company that was responsible for retro fitting the duck boat among others.
Duck boats were built during World War II and have been retrofitted to serve as land and water tour vehicles. Courthouse News reported that 21-year-old Na Ra Yoon had recently arrived in the United States to attend college and was on the charter bus with other North Seattle Community College Students when the duck boat swerved across the narrow bridge and into the bus.
The report stated Yoon fractured both her hands in the accident and was knocked unconscious. She later launched a lawsuit against the company responsible for retrofitting, Ride the Ducks International, as well as its franchisee Ride the Ducks of Seattle and the driver of the vehicle for product liability and negligence. The lawsuit followed reports that the duck boat was experiencing mechanical problems before the crash. Some witnesses stated that they saw the wheel actually come off prior to impact, the complaint says.
Federal investigators said the amphibious tour vehicle lost an axle before the crash. When the axle broke and whether it was a factor in the fatal crash is unclear.
Earl Weener of the National Transportation Safety Board told reporters the 1945 DUKW, or duck, boat lost its left front axle. “For what reason yet we don’t know,” he said.
Duck boats have been involved in a number of accidents in American cities, some of them fatal.
This year, the family of a pedestrian killed by a Ride the Ducks vehicle in Philadelphia in May filed a lawsuit against the tour boat’s operator, its manufacturer, and the city of Philadelphia.
The complaint claims that the wreck that killed Elizabeth Karnicki, 68, at the intersection of 11th and Arch Streets on May 10 was due in partly due to “huge blind spots” that dog the amphibious vehicles.
The suit came on the fifth anniversary of the deadly duck boat accident that killed two Hungarian tourists when the vehicle hit a barge on the Delaware River.
The large number of accidents inherent with these vehicles, suggest they should not still be in service. If you have been injured in an accident with a large vehicle such as a duck boat or a truck, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077.