x
Breaking News
More () »

Seattle's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and More | Seattle, Washington | KING5.com

Bus driver, passengers describe horror of Seattle's fatal Ride the Ducks crash

Three years ago, a Ride the Ducks vehicle full of passengers plowed into a tour bus on Seattle's Aurora Bridge. The tour bus driver and some of the passengers spoke in court about what happened for the first time since the deadly accident.

A tour bus driver described to a jury Wednesday what he witnessed when a Seattle Ride the Ducks boat slammed into his vehicle on the Aurora Bridge three years ago. Five people were killed in the crash and dozens more were injured.

Video played in the courtroom showing what bus driver Donald Clouse witnessed the day of the crash.

"My first reaction was what's going on? My thought was someone doing something that got distracted, and hopefully they'll turn back,” said Clouse. “I realized that wasn't happening,"

Clouse’s tour bus was full of college students when the Ride the Duck boat slammed into their vehicle on the Aurora Bridge on September 24, 2015.

"A terrible noise, glass flying everywhere. The wind coming forward," Clouse told the jury. "Couldn't see anything. It was terrible."

Also see | Driver testifies in Seattle's fatal 'Ride the Ducks' vehicle trial

Susan Gesner of Florida was riding on the Duck boat with her husband at the time of the crash.

"I'm ducking behind the seat, and I'm praying," Gesner testified. "I asked God to help us because we were losing control and the next thing I remember I'm sitting on the floor at the back of the bus, and everyone who was there was gone."

Gesner remembered Frank Sinatra's "Come Fly with Me" blaring from the speakers on the Duck during the chaos.

More than 40 plaintiffs are suing two Ride the Ducks companies, the city of Seattle, and the state over the accident. The focus is on a failing front axle of the amphibious vehicle.

Also see | 'Ducks' driver had concerns about boat before accident

Kyle Bolton remembers passing the Duck in his car just before the crash. He drew a picture of the wheel that failed for the jury.

"As best as I can remember, when I passed this wheel, it was at an angle," said Bolton. "It looked very odd to me."

While many of their physical injuries have healed, the survivors testified about the psychological impact of the accident. Gesner compared it to when the planes hit the Twin Towers in New York on 9-11.

"9-24-2015 is my personal 9-11. It's deeply embedded in my brain. The things I couldn't do to help people. The things I couldn't do to help myself. It will never go away. It really haunts me," said Gesner.