From January through the end of August, five people had been killed in Seattle traffic.
In a single collision today, four people were killed, eight were critically injured, eight more were seriously injured, and one is in “satisfactory” condition, according to the Seattle Times.
Numbers like these are hard to wrap your head around. Each one is a person with communities of people who love them. Many were international students at North Seattle College.
Our deepest condolences go out to their families and friends.
Bloodworks NW put out a call for people to donate O-Negative or O-Positive blood as the serious medical need following this tragedy has put a strain on their supplies.
Investigations will continue for a long time, including Seattle Police, Washington State and even the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB typically responds only to major tragedies, and this scale of death and injury certainly qualifies.
Initial witness statements to the Times say a Ride the Ducks amphibious tour vehicle full of passengers was headed north over the Aurora Bridge when it swerved sharply to the left, striking two vehicles and a southbound charter bus carrying 45 students and employees from North Seattle College. The Duck is a former military vehicle and has a raised and extended front end (it is also a boat). The swerving may have been caused by a mechanical failure with the left front wheel. The damage to the side of the bus was catastrophic.
— Morgan Palmer (@MorganKIRO7) September 24, 2015
There are a lot of questions to ask. Are these Duck vehicles inherently too dangerous? This is far from the first serious incident for Seattle’s Ride the Ducks or similar tours across the nation. What can be done to make the Aurora Bridge safer? In the weeks and months ahead, we need to investigate seriously and take whatever actions we can to prevent another incident like this.
But we all first need to take the time to honor the individuals killed and injured today in such a senseless moment of destruction. Talk about it with the people you love. Even a single life ended or forever altered in a traffic collision is really hard to understand.
But the worst thing we can do is get numbed by the casualty numbers, throw our hands up in the air and move on. This happened in our city.
I urge you to watch Tim Gesner tell his devastating story to the Seattle Times. He was visiting from Orlando and was in the back of the Duck when the collision happened.