Lawsuits over deadly charter bus crash settled for $4 million

SEATTLE, Wa. — The state of Washington and the city of Seattle reached settlements in June, totaling more than $4 million, with several plaintiffs over a deadly 2015 duck boat crash.

The city and state each agreed to a total payout of more than $2 million that will be split among nine plaintiffs, reported KOMO News, citing court documents. Both were blamed for contributing to the crash by not addressing long-standing safety issues with the city’s then-83-year-old Aurora Bridge, including not having a center barrier.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found the crash, on Sept. 24, 2015, was caused when a front axle broke on the World War II-style amphibious landing craft and the driver lost control. Last year, Ride the Ducks of Seattle admitted to 463 safety violations and agreed to pay $222,000 in penalties, and the maker of the duck boat agreed to pay up to $1 million in fines over the crash, according to the Seattle Times.

The duck boat plowed into a bus chartered by North Seattle College as the vehicles traveled in opposite directions across the busy bridge over Lake Union. Three other vehicles were hit in the crash. The Bellair charter bus was carrying 45 students and staff from the 6,000-student college on a trip to Safeco Field. The crash killed five international students riding in the bus and injured dozens of other people in several vehicles.

The duck boats have been allowed to resume tours but no longer travel the narrow six-lane span north of downtown Seattle.

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