Students killed in Seattle bus crash were from four countries

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2015 12:25 PM

By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Four college students killed in the crash of their charter bus and an amphibious tour bus on a Seattle bridge were from Austria, China, Indonesia and Japan, their school said on Friday.

Among the dead were Claudia Derschmidt, 49, of Austria; Privando Putradanto, 18, of Indonesia; and Mami Sato, a 36-year-old from Japan, North Seattle College said in a statement. The fourth victim was a 17-year-old girl from China whose name was not released because she was a minor.

About 90 firefighters and medics responded to the scene of Thursday afternoon's head-on collision on the busy Aurora Bridge, and 51 people were treated at hospitals, Seattle officials said.

The college said several students remained in critical condition, and other students and a North employee sustained serious injuries.

The crash left the charter bus caved in with glass and debris on the ground, and the Ride the Ducks amphibious bus also crumpled and missing a front wheel.

About 45 students and employees from North Seattle College's international programs were on the bus. They were headed to a downtown stadium as part of a new student orientation program.

Investigators are reviewing witness reports of a possible mechanical issue on the duck vehicle, police said on Thursday.

The city was notifying victims' family and helping to coordinate travel to the United States.

Traffic safety on the bridge, which has no median barrier, has been a concern of state and local officials. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

The accident comes nearly five months after an amphibious sightseeing vehicle hit and killed a woman on a Philadelphia street. In 2010, two tourists were killed when a tugboat pushed a barge into a similar vehicle, also in Philadelphia.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Susan Heavey)