DUKW Crash Fatalities

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rustystud

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To all who have said this is not a true military vehicle you are wrong. I have ridden on these trucks and have inspected them personally. Having lived in Seattle and the Seattle area for over 56 years I can assure you I know what I'm talking about. The latest findings on this terrible accident was the vehicle had not received proper maintenance on the front axle assembly. These vehicles travel over speeds of 50 mph on a daily basis. The speed limit on Aurora Ave. is 55mph. The company has agreed to no longer use this road to get to the lake. Also the cause of the accident was the left front tire assembly came off causing the DUKW to slam into the tourist buss in the oncoming lane. Literally ripping the whole side off the buss. This road has had many accidents since there is no partition on the bridge between vehicles going 55mph. In the winter time there is always an accident on the Aurora Bridge. So the main cause of the accident was a poorly maintained vehicle driving on a horrible roadway. Also as mentioned earlier the drivers have to talk to the people (be a tourist guide) and drive through terrible traffic (downtown Seattle) all the while trying to safely drive a 70 year old vehicle. I still remember when they used to take the DUKW's out on Puget Sound. Then one sank ! That really caused a stir. Thankfully no one was hurt then. The Coast Guard rescued everyone.
So considering how much use these vehicles get on a yearly basis and how few accidents they have I would say they are very good vehicle.
 

rustystud

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1494.jpg1472.jpg1493.jpg1485.jpg

These are pictures of my last outing on the DUKW just last year. The third picture shows the Aurora bridge.
 
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loosescrews

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To all who have said this is not a true military vehicle you are wrong.
I just thought I would throw my two cents in on this, as I built the dukw's in Branson,Mo that were flatbeded all across the country including the some of the ones in the cities affected by these accidents. This is where I broke my teeth in to restoring old military equipment after the service. I dont know if my dukw's were one of the ones involved in the accidents, but I truly feel sorry for the loss of life. I'll give you guys the inside scoop from a dukw builders point of view. To note, my service ended with the ride the ducks corporation before the accidents due to a disagreement with ownership over vehicle capacity.

There are three types of dukws in service with this company. First, there are the original dukws. Second, there are stretch dukws. Finally, there are new build "ducks".

The original dukws are military ducks that are stripped, blasted, painted with a marine epoxy, then mechanicals are installed by the driveline shop, then were delivered to me or another dukw finisher. My job was to take a painted roller dukw and completely rebuild it. I was responsible for fitting the through hulls, sealing the prop shaft, installing the bilge pump system, in house crafting a new harness for the entire vehicle, installing the comms/music system, and completing the in house coast guard inspection. The inspector would check my work before I installed the seats, curtains, and decking. After that inspection, I would finish the vehicle, deck it, put all seats and life vests in it and the inspector would then come and perform the actual inspection during operation. Any problems were corrected and the vehicle was shipped to its final destination. These dukws were phased out due to limited passenger capacity.

Stretch ducks followed the same build procedure with the addition that the vehicle was cut completely in half, and a hull section was added from a donor dukw or made in house if a donor was unavailable.

New production "ducks" were made in Baltimore, and I can't comment on them as I was not involved.

Some things about dukw production that may interest you all:

Once the engine and axles were installed, a single man finished the entire vehicle from start to finish.
Wiring harnesses, seats, dashboards, powerplants, and any other part the dukw needed were made in house.
During my service with the company, stretch dukws were the mainstay of the fleet.

I hope I have been able to shed some light on some of the behind the scenes work that went into making these vehicles. I can assure you, every time I rolled a dukw out of my bay, it was in pristine condition and functionally flawless. I knew the vehicle I built with my hands would carry thousands of people during its life and I put the utmost attention to detail as the smallest flaw could endanger its passengers. I can say that the other shops that ran the rides were responsible for the daily maintenance of these very old steel vehicles in a salt water environment. In Branson we had fresh water, and it was much easier on the hulls. I know they played **** keeping front axles in these rigs, even at our shop. It is and was my opinion that the prop through hull and the axles were the weakest link. The combined effects of salt water, young men doing maintenance pressured by rapid turnaround, and steer axles bearing too much weight on new and stretch dukws leads to a dangerous situation that hopefully will be rectified before it costs more people their lives.
 

Another Ahab

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Thank you for the first-hand story.

What years (+/-) were you performing all this re-build work (i.e. , when did this whole "urban DUKW" thing really take off)?
 

loosescrews

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Thank you for the first-hand story.

What years (+/-) were you performing all this re-build work (i.e. , when did this whole "urban DUKW" thing really take off)?
Duck rides started in branson, I think back in the late 70's(not sure of exact date), but I worked for them back in the 2000's, when the ducks were really booming. I knew Bob McDowell well, and his son Kegan. The old man was a real businessman and built the whole thing out of nothing, but was all about the money and if you presented an opinion he didn't like, he replaced you with someone that would say yes. I remember having to do complete refits to the dukws we took them down to katrina, what a mess that was. We tried to clean em, but you couldn't get the smell of filth and death out of em. It got down in the ribs of the hulls. That was a bad time down there.
 

rustystud

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freindsofducks.jpgI'm not sure how many of the Seattle DUKW's are the stretch variety. The first Seattle DUKW's where used in the 1960's for Seattle's "Seafair" . They have been used ever since as the "ship" for the "Seattle Seafair Pirates" . There was another company that had DUKW rides but they where bought out by the present company in 1997. Here's one in Puget Sound before they where banned.
 
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SCSG-G4

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View attachment 598762I'm not sure how many of the Seattle DUKW's are the stretch variety. The first Seattle DUKW's where used in the 1960's for Seattle's "Seafair" . They have been used ever since as the "ship" for the "Seattle Seafair Pirates" . There was another company that had DUKW rides but they where bought out by the present company in 1997. Here's one in Puget Sound before they where banned.
That looks like a stretch version. It's a lot longer than the one Ferro and I picked up in NC for Joel.
 

loosescrews

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Heres a few pics to identify the dukw/duck vehicles and to note the evolution of the vehicles:

Military DUKW
dukw.jpg

Duck v1 (this hull was used during the 80's into the 2000's, noted by the open rear deck and the short wheelbase. this model was retained in areas with confined streets)
duckv1.jpg

Duckv2 "stretchduck" (note the curved engine cooling air vent port like the v1, extended angular side gunnels, and much wider sidebar placement)
duckv2.jpg

Duckv3 "New production Duck" (note the different cooling air exhaust port, extended wheelbase and window bar distances, lack of gunnel rails)
duckv3.jpg

Design flaws that were present in the duckv3 in my opinion were, increased weight and passenger count, lowered engine ventilation causing water ingress in rapid maneuvers(hard turns would roll the duck) and choppy water or launching, and an overloaded front end. Once ingress of water started, the duck would start to go down by the head and pull the air vents closer to the water, increasing the problems and making the water from that side vent go directly onto the intake of the engine due to interior vent design. Launching speed was limited on the newer ducks due to this.
 

frank8003

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more 11152016
I am unable to get pdf to load

Here is link to

NTSB/XXX-16-XX

http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Documents/Seattle-WA-DUKW-Abstract.pdf


www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Documents/Seattle-WA-DUKW-Abstract.pdf

  1. Cached


Nov 15, 2016 - NTSB/XXX-16-XX. This is a synopsis from the NTSB's report and does not include the Board's rationale for the conclusions, probable cause ...


PROBABLE CAUSE

[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PSMT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PSMT]The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Seattle, Washington, crash was the mechanical failure, due to improper manufacturing by Ride the Ducks International (vehicle manufacturer) and inadequate maintenance by Ride the Ducks of Seattle (operator), of the left front axle housing of the stretch amphibious passenger vehicle (APV)
[/FONT]
[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PS][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PS]DUCK 6[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PS][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PS][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PSMT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PSMT], which resulted in loss of vehicle control. Contributing to the severity of the motorcoach occupant injuries was the APV’s structural incompatibility with the motorcoach, causing intrusion into the motorcoach sidewall, windows, and interior passenger compartment. Contributing to the severity of the APV passenger injuries were the lack of occupant crash protections and the high impact forces. [/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PSMT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PSMT][/FONT][/FONT]
 
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Another Ahab

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The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Seattle, Washington, crash was the mechanical failure, due to improper manufacturing by Ride the Ducks International (vehicle manufacturer) and inadequate maintenance by Ride the Ducks of Seattle (operator), of the left front axle housing of the stretch amphibious passenger vehicle (APV)
DUCK 6, which resulted in loss of vehicle control.
Thanks for the follow-up, frank8003.

It would be nice to know what was the nature of the "improper manufacturing" (like missing a part? or maybe a bad weld?).
 

Jbulach

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Thanks for the follow-up, frank8003.

It would be nice to know what was the nature of the "improper manufacturing" (like missing a part? or maybe a bad weld?).
From the above attached document, posted by frank8003

"4. The 2004 tab modification was flawed due to inadequate stiffness to eliminate the stress concentration in the transition region and because of poor weld quality, specifically the lack of fusion and lack of penetration; moreover, it is likely that the weld of the tab fractured before the axle housing fractured."
 

rustystud

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From the above attached document, posted by frank8003

"4. The 2004 tab modification was flawed due to inadequate stiffness to eliminate the stress concentration in the transition region and because of poor weld quality, specifically the lack of fusion and lack of penetration; moreover, it is likely that the weld of the tab fractured before the axle housing fractured."
Sounds like "lawsuit" time for the builder !
 
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