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Ride the Ducks of Seattle goes out of business

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Seattle Police Department photo shows impact of DUKW on tour bus in deadly 2015 accident

Ride the Ducks of Seattle filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington, March 18, disclosing total liabilities of $5.1 million.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not involve the filing of a plan of repayment as in chapter 13. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee gathers and sells the debtor’s nonexempt assets and uses the proceeds of such assets to pay holders of claims (creditors) in accordance with the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.

A Ride the Ducks of Seattle DUKW-type amphibious vehicle was involved in a deadly shoreside cross-over collision with a tour bus in 2015 that killed four people and injured several others and in February 2019 a jury awarded victims and families about $123 million, determining that Ride the Ducks International of Branson, Mo,. the manufacturer of the duck boat vehicle, was 67-70% responsible for the crash, while Ride the Ducks of Seattle, the operator, was 30-33% at fault.

In a post on its Facebook page following the Chapter 7 filing, the company said:

Late last week we made the very difficult decision to close Ride the Ducks of Seattle. We’ve been working hard to rebuild our business over the past few years and had been making great progress, showcasing our beautiful city through our iconic tours. In reality, the legal issues surrounding the tragic crash in 2015 were simply too much for our company to overcome. We’ve been working to hold the manufacturer of the vehicle that we believe caused the tragedy accountable, and while we believe we will be successful, it will come too late for Ride the Ducks of Seattle. While the COVID-19 situation certainly accelerated our decision, we were faced with a set of financial realities that were inescapable.

We have many people to thank for making Ride the Ducks of Seattle a part of our city’s landscape, including the millions of guests we’ve welcomed aboard and the local business community that has supported us. Most important, though, we want to share our profound gratitude to our wonderful team of employees who worked to make Ride the Ducks of Seattle the most popular tourist activity year after year. We could not have come as far as we did without their dedication and hard work.

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