A fifth passenger involved in the Seattle duck bus crash Thursday has died. The accident occurred when a charter bus was struck by a Ride the Ducks tour bus on a Seattle bridge.
The 20-year-old woman, a student at North Seattle College as were the four other passengers killed in the crash, had been in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She died Sunday.
Thirteen other passengers from the charter bus remain hospitalized, including four in serious condition in Harborview’s intensive care unit.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) continues to investigate the deadly collision. The agency announced over the weekend that the particular amphibious bus involved in the crash did not have a critical repair to the axle that was recommended in 2013.
The company that refurbishes the amphibious vehicles for Atlanta-based Ride the Ducks found a problem in the axle housing of Duck No. 6, the bus involved in the Seattle crash, in 2013. Some reports indicate that Ride the Ducks International warned its tour company customers about the flaw, but it is unclear whether Ride the Ducks of Seattle, the company that owns the bus, was aware of the problem.
The Ride the Ducks buses are former military landing craft used to transport troops and supplies between land and sea. Duck No. 6 was built in 1945, and 2005 was the last time the bus was refurbished, The Seattle Times reported.
Reports of the axle flaw line up with witness accounts that the bus appeared to have a mechanical problem that sent it swerving across lanes of traffic before sharply turning left into oncoming traffic and ramming the charter bus.
On Saturday, NTSB investigators said they found the vehicle’s left-front axle had been “sheared off” in the crash.
The NTSB will likely issue a preliminary report within a few weeks, but won’t have a final report ready for about a year.
The State of Washington is also investigating the crash. On Sunday, the state Utilities and Transportation Commission, which regulates commercial motor coach companies, said it would inspect all the records of Seattle Duck vehicles and driver records.
Meanwhile, Ride the Ducks of Seattle has frozen its fleet until safety inspections are completed. There is no word when the company expects to start operating again.