When a terrible incident in Seattle, Washington on September 27th, 2015 left 50 people injured and four people dead, authorities immediately searched for an answer. A duck boat, a special type of amphibious tour vehicle in the area, had collided with a bus, but no one was initially certain what went wrong. Federal investigators were dispatched to the scene to see if they could determine the cause of the accident.
Now it seems they might have their answer. While investigating the duck boat, the National Transporation Safety Board (NTSB) determined one of the axles was sheared off. If this is the case, the likely sequence of events was:
- The operator of the vehicle attempted to turn the vehicle
- The force of the operator’s attempt to steer sheared the axle
- Without the axle, the vehicle could not turn and plowed forward into the bus
The most important question left to answer is what caused the axle to fail. Axles in these types of vehicles are engineered and manufactured to be exceptionally strong, because it something goes wrong with one an accident is likely to occur.
One possible cause of axle failure is rust. The salt sea air in the area, not to mention the amphibious nature of the craft, means the metal was likely exposed to oxidizing elements. If proper maintenance was not performed at regular intervals, the structural strength of the axle could be compromised.
There are other possible reasons for failure, and only a full investigation will ultimately determine what caused the axle to shear apart. Luckily the federal authorities are hand to provide that information in this case.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bus accident, or on a tour or a cruise, there is no guarantee that the NTSB will conduct an investigation to determine what went wrong. You might be left to your own devices, and it can be difficult to know what to do. Please contact an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the process of determining what caused the accident that resulted in your injury.