• Fifth student dies after Aurora Bridge collision

    By: KIRO 7 Staff & The Associated Press


    SEATTLE - Five students were killed in a crash involving a charter bus and an amphibious tour vehicle. Four of the students have been identified.

    According to North Seattle College, three of the victims are Claudia Derschmidt, a 49-year-old woman from Austria, Privando Putradanto, an 18-year-old man from Indonesia and Mami Sato, a 36-year-old woman from Japan. The fourth victim was identified by the medical examiner's office as Runjie Song, a 17-year-old girl from China.

    >> Photos from the scene | Raw video from crash site

    The five were international students on their way to new student orientation events.  They would have started their first quarter at North Seattle College on Monday.

    Quick Facts:

    Federal investigators arrived in Seattle Friday to determine what caused the crash between the Ride the Ducks vehicle and the bus carrying 48 passengers from six countries that happened at about 11 a.m. Thursday on the bridge, which carries one of the city's main north-south highways over a lake.

    On Sunday, it was advised that the Utilities & Transportation Commission would be ordering inspections and reviews—of all “Ride the Ducks of Seattle” vehicles and driver records.

    The National Transportation Safety Board says the duck boat involved didn't have an axle repair that was recommended in a warning back in 2013.

    The NTSB only recently became aware of the warning and it is unclear whether -- Ride the Ducks of Seattle -- was aware of the warning.

    Witnesses say the Duck careened out of control, crossed into oncoming traffic and broadsided a charter bus.  Read initial coverage here.



    Five students from North Seattle College were killed. The passengers on the bus were students and staff from the school.

    According to North Seattle College, three of the victims are Claudia Derschmidt, a 49-year-old woman from Austria, Privando Putradanto, an 18-year-old man from Indonesia, and Mami Sato, a 36-year-old woman from Japan.

    The fourth victim was identified by the medical examiner's office as Runjie Song, a 17-year-old girl from China.


    A fifth student died at Harborview Medical Center on Sunday. 

    The international student was a 20-year-old woman.


    Family members looking for loved ones involved in the crash are advised to call the Harborview hotline at 206-520-5200.

    Witnesses, survivors

    Katie Moody, 30, is in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center with a broken collar bone.

    She was with her parents on the Ride the Ducks tour when it crashed into the tour bus.

    "It felt like we lost control and he said, 'Oh no', and I looked up and saw the bus coming right at us. It was a really hard hit," said Moody.

    Katie Moody and her dad, Greg Moody, were ejected onto the bridge deck

    "I was thrown out. I must have blacked out or had my eyes closed. I remember waking up on the freeway and I saw people running towards us from their cars to check on us," remembered Greg Moody.

    Her dad, Greg Moody, realized how lucky they were to be alive.

    "I'm really sorry for the people who died—the families. We were fortunate, very fortunate, and I have to thank God for that to be honest with you," said Greg Moody, who was treated and released from the hospital. 

    His wife, Patricia Moody, also broke her collar bone.

    The Moody family is from Fremont, California. They were in Seattle visiting her brother and his family.

    They are thankful to the strangers and first responders who helped them.

    "It just renewed my faith in humanity," said Katie Moody. "...compassion and making sure everyone was okay. And they thought it was very important for me to know my parents were okay."


    Tim Gesner, a tourist from Orlando, was sitting in the back of the amphibious vehicle.  He said he stood up in the back seat to snap a photo when the vehicle lost control.

    “I felt the back of the vehicle start to fishtail, and as I turned my head, I heard the driver say, ’Oh no,’” Gesner said.  

    "The next thing I know, I'm looking over and she's hanging over the side crying, and I look out, and her mom got ejected from the boat, the vehicle, and was laying on the ground in a puddle of blood. I’ve never seen carnage like that before," said Gesner.

    VIDEO: Crash survivor tells his story

    At least one witness told investigators that there was something wrong with one of the Duck’s wheels, which was partially sideways before crash.

    Gesner told KIRO 7 he thinks if the Duck vehicle didn't hit the oncoming traffic, it could have gone over the other side of the Aurora Bridge.

    A Harborview Medical Center spokesperson said the total number of patients received at hospitals throughout city was about 50.

    In a Sunday update, four people injured in the Aurora Bridge crash—recovering at Harborview—were no longer in intensive care and had been upgraded to satisfactory condition. 

    One patient had been discharged. Later on Sunday evening, a fifth student died at Harborview, who had been in critical condition.

    At NW Hospital and Medical Center, the one person is in satisfactory condition had been discharged by Sunday.

    At UW Medical Center, two patients were in satisfactory condition. 

    Initially, more than a dozen people were in critical condition.

    It’s not clear how many of the injured were on the amphibious vehicle operated by tour company Ride the Ducks.


    Crash scene cleared

    Late Thursday night, crews towed away the wreckage of the Ride the Ducks vehicle and charter bus on flatbed trucks.

    The bridge reopened at 11:15 p.m. after being closed for more than 12 hours.

    >> Photos from the scene | Raw video from crash site

    Authorities said the bridge was inspected, and other than some cosmetic damage done to a pedstrian handrail, the bridge was safe for travel.



    On Sunday evening, officials announced that the Utilities & Transportation Commission would order inspections and reviews—of all “Ride the Ducks of Seattle” vehicles and driver records.

    The UTC will seek to suspend the operations of the fleet until the inspections are complete.

    NTSB officials held conferences  on Saturday and Sunday -- revealing the latest information gathered during their investigation. 

    On Saturday, the front left tire axle was determined to have been sheared off of the Ride the Ducks vehicle. The cause was unknown.


    Passenger interviews began Sunday. Eleven passengers were interviewed. 

    On Sunday, investigators revealed that a potential fault had been determined during an investigation, and that the "fix" had not been applied to the Ducks vehicle involved. 

    It is unknown whether or not Ride the Ducks in Seattle received the information about the vehicle's potential fault point and "fix" information.


    Officials said they would also be conducting 72-hour histories for each driver involved.

    Officials also shared photographs from their investigation on Saturday afternoon.


    The NTSB will be studying the crash wreckage, which was taken to a warehouse in South Seattle and will be looking closely at witness statements.

    Earl Warren, an NTSB board member, said they have five teams who will stay in Seattle for at least one week. The investigation may take as long as a year.

    “We will not speculate on the probable cause of this accident. The NTSB does not determine the probable cause of a crash while on scene,” Warren said.

    Seventeen NTSB staff members arrived in Seattle Friday. Their tasks will include looking at bridge operations, vehicle mechanics and recorded event data.


    The NTSB has previously investigated two other incidents involving amphibious vehicles, but both were accidents on water and not on land.

    In 2010, a duck vehicle stalled in Philadelphia waters and was run over by a barge. Two people died. In 1999, 13 people drowned on an Arkansas duck vehicle.

    Warren said they’ll also be looking at the chartered tour buses: “We’ve had a number of fatal accidents with buses. We’ve had issues with rollover characteristics, we’ve had issues with strength of windows, strength of the roof.”

    Local investigators took measurements, documented the wreckage and inspected the bridge for damage.

    Multiple witnesses said the Duck veered out of control before hitting the charter bus, prompting questions as to whether it was the driver’s fault or mechanical failure.

    North Seattle College

    A bouquet of flowers sits on the schoool campus with a note that reads, "With sorrow, from the community."

    The college hosted a gathering for students Friday morning who were traumatized by the crash.  

    In a statement Thursday evening, North Seattle College said "four of our students were tragically killed" in the crash, and that because they were international students, government officials are working to contact their family members. Some are in the process of flying in from overseas.

    The school was closed Friday in the wake of the crash, but will reopen on Monday.

    North Seattle College is a two-year institution with about 18,000 students.


    Ride the Ducks

    Brian Tracey, the president of the Ride the Ducks tour company, says his vehicles have clean safety records. 

    “We pass with flying colors all the time. We go way above what is ever required by the DOT or the Coast Guard -- way above it," said Tracey.

    Read the last state inspection report for the Ride the Ducks fleet.

    The Duck fleet is out of service during the investigation and out of respect for the victims.

    VIDEO: President of Ride the Ducks devastated after crash

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