Jury awards $123 million to victims of Seattle duck boat crash

A jury has awarded about $123 million to the victims and families of a fatal 2015 crash between a duck boat and a tour bus in Seattle.

Posted: Feb 10, 2019 9:10 AM
Updated: Feb 10, 2019 9:10 AM

A jury has awarded about $123 million to the victims and families of a fatal 2015 crash between a duck boat and a tour bus in Seattle.

The jury determined that Ride the Ducks International, the manufacturer of the duck boat vehicle, was 67-70% responsible for the crash, while Ride the Ducks of Seattle, the duck boat tour operator, was 30-33% at fault.

The duck boat -- a vehicle that can run on both land and water -- crashed with a bus carrying students and employees from North Seattle College on the city's Aurora Bridge in September 2015. The crash left five people dead and dozens injured.

After the crash, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board found that the duck boat's front axle had broken and that it didn't undergo a repair that its manufacturer recommended two years earlier. The NTSB said Ride the Ducks International had notified customers of a potential safety concern and had recommended fixes or increased monitoring of the vehicle.

The verdict, handed down Thursday, declared that the manufacturer supplied an unsafe product and breached product liability law, and said that the tour boat operator had been negligent.

Lawyers representing the victims and families had also sued the city of Seattle and the state of Washington, but neither was found responsible.

After the verdict was reached, Ride the Ducks of Seattle issued a statement saying it has made significant structural changes to parts of its vehicles and instituted regular testing, in addition to inspections by Washington state and the US Coast Guard. The tour boat operator also said it has done a "top-to-bottom review" of its operations and removed the Aurora Bridge from its route.

"Since the tragic accident on September 24, 2015, Ride the Ducks of Seattle owners, management and team members have always wanted to do right by everyone affected by the accident, but have been limited by constraints in the legal process," the company said in a statement. "Today, the jury's verdict puts us one step closer to that goal. There isn't a day that goes by that we don't think of those lives that were forever changed that day."

Ride the Ducks of Seattle also said it has been trying to repair its relationship with customers.

"We've been working hard to regain the trust of those we serve and will continue to do so in the future," the company said in its statement.

CNN has made several requests for comment to the company that owns Ride the Ducks International but has yet to receive a response.

Karen Koehler, the lawyer representing the duck boat crash victims and their families, was pleased with the jurors' decision, the Seattle Times reported.

"This jury was always on top of this case and we couldn't have asked any more of them," she said following the verdict, according to The Seattle Times.

Koehler also said she hopes the decision will result in the company's vehicles being taken off the road.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 587049

Reported Deaths: 9287
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion810691296
Lake44121665
Allen31797541
Hamilton28178303
St. Joseph26684369
Elkhart24057340
Vanderburgh18519213
Tippecanoe17305121
Johnson14398284
Porter14342159
Hendricks13793241
Madison10509212
Vigo10432171
Clark10151129
Monroe9029108
Delaware8782129
LaPorte8721153
Kosciusko784677
Howard7834137
Warrick636790
Hancock633297
Bartholomew624294
Floyd6098105
Wayne5903156
Grant5799109
Dubois541670
Boone531467
Morgan512388
Marshall492484
Henry491164
Cass469060
Noble458757
Dearborn454544
Jackson413145
Shelby401178
Lawrence379475
Clinton363639
Gibson355056
DeKalb336363
Montgomery333851
Harrison326042
Knox325439
Miami308243
Steuben304940
Adams294435
Whitley292325
Wabash291645
Ripley290845
Putnam282447
Huntington281257
Jasper280733
White265738
Daviess260772
Jefferson248538
Fayette241348
Decatur241282
Greene232460
Posey230026
Wells228547
LaGrange223461
Clay216432
Scott216437
Randolph207540
Jennings191335
Sullivan188531
Spencer179917
Fountain178625
Washington175018
Starke170741
Jay162021
Fulton158829
Owen157837
Carroll151315
Orange150533
Rush148118
Perry145327
Vermillion144333
Franklin142533
Parke12788
Tipton127332
Pike113125
Blackford107022
Pulaski94637
Newton89020
Brown85530
Benton84110
Crawford7479
Martin69213
Warren6537
Switzerland6175
Union6063
Ohio4647
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 821507

Reported Deaths: 10135
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin96935704
Cuyahoga81526972
Hamilton60913438
Montgomery41445399
Summit33096726
Lucas29981591
Butler29513227
Stark24608400
Warren18792139
Lorain17916207
Mahoning16710335
Lake15255135
Clermont15053104
Delaware1374277
Licking12595132
Trumbull12352301
Fairfield1211380
Greene11532132
Medina11033165
Clark10557264
Wood9901154
Allen9481126
Portage8802105
Miami880173
Richland8748116
Marion7305113
Tuscarawas7095174
Columbiana7047124
Pickaway699850
Wayne6729162
Muskingum665342
Erie5866117
Hancock537090
Ross526087
Scioto514862
Geauga478255
Darke456089
Ashtabula437268
Union429228
Lawrence428951
Mercer423387
Sandusky419062
Seneca411755
Auglaize410959
Huron409138
Shelby408521
Jefferson400466
Belmont392840
Washington367940
Putnam363672
Athens36229
Madison337928
Knox334922
Ashland329138
Fulton324243
Defiance317078
Crawford311968
Preble310034
Brown294419
Logan291829
Ottawa280534
Clinton278143
Williams268966
Highland261318
Jackson255243
Guernsey239425
Champaign239227
Fayette224529
Morrow22194
Perry220517
Holmes217562
Henry208847
Hardin203032
Coshocton197120
Van Wert196244
Wyandot189949
Gallia189126
Adams165515
Pike163416
Hocking161923
Carroll148016
Paulding139021
Noble117540
Meigs102421
Monroe95227
Harrison8578
Morgan78227
Vinton65613
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 21°
Angola
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 22°
Huntington
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 20°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 21°
Lima
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 20°
Seasonal Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events