SEATTLE, Sept. 24 (UPI) — A Washington state tour company that gives passengers a tour of Seattle on vehicles that can drive on land and in the water suspended operations Thursday after one of them crashed into a tour bus — killing four and badly injuring several others, officials said.
The amphibious vehicle, operated by Ride the Ducks, collided with the chartered bus on the city’s Aurora Bridge early Thursday. A pickup truck and an SUV were also involved in the crash, police said.
Authorities said the crash was so powerful it ripped a large gash in the side of the bus, NBC News reported. Traffic on the bridge was closed and dozens were evacuated from the area.
Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened to cause the accident.
Initially, two people were reported dead, but officials later raised the toll to four. Several others were critically hurt and at least 12 were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
The University of Washington School of Medicine said the victims’ ages range from 17 to 60.
The bus involved in the crash had been chartered by North Seattle College and was full of students and staff, police said.
Ride the Ducks, which began operating in 1997, gives passengers a tour of Seattle by land and water. The company said it was suspending operations amid the investigation into Thursday’s crash.
“Safety is always our #1 concern and we take it very seriously,” the company says on its website. “All our Captains hold a United States Coast Guard Master’s license, as well as a commercial driver’s license, are CPR and First Aid certified and must complete a rigorous training program before any paying-passengers board their Duck.”
Firefighters evaluated patients on the bridge following the accident as police processed the crash site.