Discussion in 'Non-Rail Transportation' started by CHamilton, Sep 24, 2015.
'Ride the Ducks' vehicle, charter bus collide on Aurora Bridge
Sort of a light-hearted title for an event in which two people were killed.
The fatalities were not known when I posted. The title has been changed.
I have taken that tour. While I have no idea regarding this incident other than some of the article comments regarding the crash itself seem improbable. One in particular was the one about enough speed to spin the Duck 180. I found everyone involved with Duck Tours to focus on safety. I also disagree with the remark that the vehicles , as ex military are unsafe.
4 Dead, Dozens Injured in Crash on Aurora Bridge
Early eyewitness accounts indicated that the converted military vehicle appeared to swerve and then overcorrect which resulted in the crash. Apparently there have been several incidents of unsafe operation resulting in pedestrians and motorcyclists being runover by these converted military machines. It would appear that these "duck" devices may be operating on public roads without modern handling, useful bumpers, crumple zones, or decades worth of other safety improvements. Perhaps it's time for Seattle and/or the DOT to reevaluate any grandfathering or special privileges granted for use with these vehicles.
The charter bus is a J4500. Apparently all 4 fatalities were on the J4500.
That thing got peeled open like a tin can!
For those wondering what those "Ride the Ducks" vehicles look like, here's a photo from Wikipedia. You can easily imagine how the front
end of that thing might pose a danger to other vehicles. Though of course, there's still an investigation ahead:
Dozens of exchange students among the injured in fatal bus crash
What an absolutely horrible accident. My thoughts to the victim's...
Of note in the story, is the fact that some of the bus passenger's were thrown from the bus. Another case to reinforce the call to use seatbelts on buses.....
How did the passengers get thrown from the bus? Did they get thrown out the sides?
Considering how the J4500 fiberglass panels are clipped and bonded together, rather than riveted and welded, it's no surprise it took heavy damage. I myself was shocked to see that the passengers didn't open the side windows to escape.
Deadly crash of 'Duck' vehicle, tour bus raises safety concerns
Austin is full of these things and they have been involved in several accidents in the terrible traffic here! Luckily no-one has been killed or seriously injured! (so far)
Here's the story I worked on with our investigative team yesterday:
Decade-old advice on Aurora Bridge not heeded
The Aurora bridge has 6 narrow lanes (9-9.5 feet wide, standard is 10-12), with no median, no shoulders and semi-protected sidewalks on either side. There's no margin for error. The Washington State DOT knows this, has studied this and yet has not made any significant changes to the bridge.
I would just point out that the ones they're using are not converted ex-military vehicles. There are some of those original ones are still operating now, but I don't believe this particular company uses them. They build them at a factory near Branson, Missouri. Before that I believe they had other companies building them for them.
This photo shows the damage, but isn't graphic since the passengers had been removed from the immediate scene. The amphibious vehicle didn't come out of it unscathed, but it's pretty clear that the tour bus suffered the worst damage to the passenger compartment. The early reports were that they were going in the same direction, but reports later said they were in opposite directions with the amphibious vehicle swerving after clipping a vehicle. I heard that the tour bus was filled with international students at a local college. It seems like most of them were Chinese.
12 years since Duck vehicle in fatal crash got state inspection
NTSB to examine Duck vehicle’s sheared wheel, axle
I noticed in that article the NTSB rep said that this particular vehicle was made in 1945 but had a more modern drivetrain. It was my understanding that the organization built new ones from the ground up, but it looks like they do have some vintage ones that have been refitted. Still - my understanding is that most of these are fabricated at their factory in Missouri.
Some saw red fluid gushing out, and it sound like was probably transmission fluid.
From what I can tell most or all other significant mishaps with these vehicles have involved them sinking: In 1999 in Lake Hamilton in Arkansas where 13 died; Off Milwaukee in Lake Michigan in 2000 where all crew and passengers where rescued; and In the Delaware River in Philly in 2010 where two passengers died. Surprisingly to me, I couldn't find anything about where they've been involved in any other fatalities on land as, from what I've witnessed here in the other Washington, they seem to have a tendency to bounce around a lot when going down the road.
I saw one over the summer in San Francisco. However, they have discontinued the tours since they would have been subject to a new city ordinance that would prohibit the driver from also serving as the guide. They closed shop since they claimed they couldn't justify paying for a separate narrator, who would also take up a seat.
The law in San Francisco is for all tour operators, after a cable car styled tour bus (run by the same company that ran the SF Ride the Ducks business) hit a pedestrian (who died from it).
I don't know about the duck vehicle, but the J4500 charter bus, a web integral semi monocoque motorcoach, has a tubular T304 stainless steel frame and a all-fiberglass (GFRP) exterior. The exterior panels are clipped onto the stainless tubes with nylon clips. The side windows are bonded (glued) onto the frame.
So, basically, the J4500 is a very fragile motorcoach. In fact, I believe one of the deadliest accidents in recent years involved a J4500.
I'm still shocked nobody opened the emergency exit windows to escape. Most of the J4500 side windows are emergency exits windows.
I'm totally unsure whether passengers used the escape windows, or just escaped thru the shattered sidewall of the broken bus.
Media reports many escaped, or were thrown from the bus.
Don't know what to believe.
Hope the NTSB investigation shows light on the whole sorry thing.
Trauma therapist offers healing advice after bridge crash
This is useful advice. (Full disclosure: Robin is a friend and client.)
Friend and client or not, based on personal experience, I agree with you that she gives really good advice.
Thanks for posting. :hi:
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