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Ride the Ducks Seattle shuts its doors for good

A Ride the Ducks vehicle on First Avenue crossing Union Street in downtown Seattle. (Dyer Oxley, KIRO Radio)

It’s been a staple of Seattle tourist attractions for more than 20 years. But, now Ride the Ducks Seattle has shut down operations for good.

In an abrupt move Friday, the company shut down operations, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The move comes after the deadly 2015 Duck Boat crash on the Aurora Bridge that killed five and injured dozens. The Seattle Company faced multiple lawsuits over the crash, and last year was found negligent in the largest of the lawsuits involving some 40 people.

The court ruled Ride the Ducks Seattle was responsible for 33-percent of what ended up being around $115 million in damages awarded to the victims.

The company released an official statement on Monday:

Late last week we made the very difficult decision to close Ride the Ducks 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 was 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 Seattle. While the Coronavirus issue 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 Seattle a part of our city’s landscape including the millions of guests we’ve welcomed aboard, and the business community that has supported us. Most important, though, we want to share our profound thanks and gratitude to our wonderful team of employees who worked to make Ride the Ducks Seattle the most popular tourist activity year after year. We could not have come as far without their dedication and hard work.

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