SEATTLE — An amphibious tour vehicle and a charter bus carrying foreign college students collided on a busy Seattle bridge today, killing four people and sending dozens to hospitals in a wreck that scattered crumpled metal and broken glass on the road.
Seattle’s Fire Chief Harold Scoggins said 12 people were in critical condition, and many others had minor injuries. The crash also involved two passenger cars.
Mayor Ed Murray said foreign students were on the charter bus, and efforts were being made to contact consulates. He had no other details.
Witnesses described hearing a loud screech before the wreck and then seeing injured people either lying on the pavement or wandering around in a daze.
Jahna Dyer, a registered nurse, said she was walking across the Aurora Avenue Bridge when she came upon the scene, a mess of jumbled metal and glass.
Some victims were lying on the road, while others milled about seemingly in shock and falling down, she said.
Dyer jumped a railing separating the sidewalk from the roadway and helped stabilize an injured man’s neck. She said she also helped a woman who had a cut lip and glass in her eye.
“She was holding my hand and saying thank you,” she said.
John Mundell said he was at the south end of the bridge when the crash occurred.
“We could hear the screech and twisted metal. It was surreal,” he said, adding he saw what appeared to be a few dozen people on the ground. “I wanted to try to help. I felt helpless.”
One of the vehicles involved was an amphibious, military-style bus operated by a tour company called Ride The Ducks. The tours are known for exuberant drivers and guides who play loud music and quack through megaphones as they lead tourists around the city.
Seattle’s Fire Lieutenant Sue Stangl said emergency crews were quick to arrive at the scene and encountered several victims.
“When [firefighters] arrived a lot of people were running at them, obviously saying people needed help,” Stangl.
Northwest Hospital spokeswoman Karen Peck said her facility was one of at least six Seattle hospitals receiving patients. Three of the 15 patients being treated at Northwest were from one family, she said — men ages 60, 20 and 24.
Harborview Medical Centre planned to treat up to ten of the most seriously injured, spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.