John von Malouf knows that Seattle may not be interested in the idea of launching another fleet of amphibious vehicles into its waters and roads.
It was only six years ago that a tourist-laden Ride the Ducks of Seattle crashed, collided with a bus full of international students, killing five people and injuring 60 others. Millions were paid to the victims and their families, resulting in the bankruptcy of the travel company, which closed in April last year.
“I know your story well,” Malouf said of the disaster and the legal journey that followed.
Still, Malouf believes this is the starting point for the Seattle Splash Tours, an “amphibious adventure” set to open this summer, offering a 90-minute land-water ride on Hydra-Terra vehicles built by Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International for tourism.
“This is a completely different amphibian built for touring,” said Malouf, who has been touring Alaska amphibians in Ketchika, Alaska for the past 20 years.
“It’s really about security.”
Unlike Ducks vehicles, some of which were built in the 1940s ռազմական in the 1950s for military use վել have survived for decades, Seattle Splash Tours will use state-of-the-art vehicles made with modern parts. The oldest vehicle in his fleet is 20 years old, he says, and the aluminum hull is filled with floating foam approved by the Coast Guard, “which is a huge advantage.”
“You can’t dive,” he said. “They are positively vibrant.”
His vehicles have “proven performance” in 16 countries, he called them “the safest amphibious vehicles for tourism.”
His travel company has had one death in its history. In 2004, a pedestrian was killed in front of a car. Investigators have found that the company is not to blame.
Malouf has received a two-month permit from the Seattle Parks Tourism Authority to operate vehicles at Sunnyside Avenue North, where the Ducks once operated, where he hopes good times will resume.
“We feel there’s a little vacuum there,” Malouf said of Seattle, a city he knew well as a harvest diver. “There is a good market there. Seattle is a great tourist destination, and it has received a lot of attention over the last few years.
“It can be a little splash or have fun.”
Where Bader’s tours had a more comedic tone. “Splash tours will be more meaningful, but still a good time,” said the “captains” at the wheel, with fun names, crazy hats, fists and loud music.
“We like to have fun,” Malouf said. “I think the Ride Ducks had a lot of local sponsorship, they had a hard time overcoming it after the accident.
“We will stand on our own,” he continued. “We are a different company, we do things the way we want to do it. And security is our priority, to get in. ”
In February 2019, after a four-month civil trial, King County Jury awarded $ 123 million to the crash victims. The court ruled that Ride the Ducks International, the manufacturer of the Duck amphibious vehicle in Berson, Missouri, was responsible for 67% to 70% of the accident. that “walking the Seattle duck” was 30% to 33% to blame. Prizes for each of the 40 plaintiffs ranged from $ 40,000 to $ 25 million.
Following the crash, the State Utility’s Transportation Commission, which regulates commercial charter buses and tourist vehicles throughout the area, stopped the local company from operating its 20 tour cars, finding that there were 463 security breaches in Duc Seattle.
Last year, four U.S. senators introduced the Duck Boat Improvement Act in 2018. A duck boat crash that killed 17 people at Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.
The bill has passed the Senate Committee on Trade, Science and Transport, and is expected to be debated in its entirety this year.
If passed, the law would strengthen the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendations, requiring the use of life jackets և Upgrading existing duck vessels to be more active in the event of an emergency flood. The law also requires the cessation of security operations. Annual safety training for staff members; անվտանգության Consideration of safety recommendations in previous incident reports.
Last July, when the remaining 19 cars were auctioned off, Ducks left Seattle forever and sold for $ 5,000 to $ 45,000. The higher price was offered for a car painted in the colors of the University of Washington’s logo.
“They exceeded our best expectations,” said Colin Murphy, G. Ames Murr. From Murphy’s company, which ran the weekly auction. “And we did not know what they were going to go for, because they are not really for sale on the open market.”
The vehicles were sold mainly to private owners, from Mount Vernon in Skagitt County to New York, Maine and Florida.
“They landed everywhere,” Murphy said, adding that the Ducks mobile box office sold for $ 4,500.
Malouf does not have a clear date for the start of ticket sales. But he expects to push back a bit, given what has happened here in other parts of the country where amphibious vehicles have crashed.
“Of course there will be resistance,” he said. “There will always be haters. But you just keep smiling, you keep shipping. ”
And floating. That too.