Regulators Suspend Seattle Duck Boat Operator Involved in Deadly Crash

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By Tim Stelloh

Washington State regulators on Monday suspended operations of the "duck boat" franchise whose vehicle was involved in a Seattle crash last week that killed five college students, the state Utilities and Transportation Commission said.

The commission expects to a file formal complaint against the franchise, Ride the Ducks Seattle, by Wednesday, they said in a release, adding that the "suspension is effective immediately pending investigation and inspection of Ride the Ducks’ entire fleet of vehicles and drivers."

Officers investigate the scene of a crash between a tour bus and a tourist duck boat on the Aurora Bridge in Seattle, Washington on September 24, 2015.MARK RALSTON / AFP - Getty Images

The announcement comes one day after a fifth person died from injuries sustained during the crash, which occurred on Aurora Bridge on Thursday after a 1945 military-style duck boat appeared to "lurch suddenly," a witness told NBC affiliate KING.

A left wheel people popped off the duck boat and the vehicle "basically almost T-boned" an oncoming bus, the witness, Jesse Christenson, told the station.

In a briefing Sunday, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener said that the boat, which was refurbished in 2005, hadn't received an axle repair that was recommended two years ago.

On Monday, a Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman said that three people injured in the crash remained in serious condition at the hospital's intensive care unit.