Northwest Asian Weekly
SEATTLE, Wash. – The family of a Japanese woman killed in the Ride the Ducks crash filed a wrongful death lawsuit on June 14 against the Georgia-based company, its driver, the Duck-boat manufacturer, the City of Seattle, and State of Washington.
Mami Sato, 36, was one of five people killed Sept. 24 of last year when a Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle crashed and carved open a coach bus travelling in the opposite direction on the Aurora Bridge in Seattle.
Sato was traveling with four dozen fellow students and school staff from North Seattle Community College on a coach bus to Safeco Field as part of a new student orientation.
“Mami had just come to Seattle from Japan and was a student at North Seattle Community College to further her English studies. She was only in the country four days before her life was cut short by this preventable tragedy,” said attorney Cheryl Snow of the Law Offices of James S. Rogers in Seattle. “These military-grade vehicles are dangerous and should not be driven on the streets alongside civilian passenger vehicles.”
Sato was an accomplished athlete in volleyball, skiing, and snowboarding. After graduating from Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, she worked for a number of companies in Japan in accounting. She had hoped to become a U.S. certified public accountant and was working to perfect her English.
Ride the Ducks admitted it failed to properly maintain the vehicle, but claimed it missed manufacturer alerts to upgrade its axle to avoid axle fractures on the World War II vehicles. The manufacturer of the boat never issued a recall of its defective product.
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