Tim and Susan Gesner’s Ride the Ducks driver told passengers while crossing the Aurora Bridge late Thursday morning that it was a good time to take a photo of Lake Union off to their right.
Standing in the aisle, Tim Gesner, 61, had time to snap one photo before hearing the microphoned driver say “oh no.”
Feeling the back of the vehicle fishtail, Tim looked up just as they veered into oncoming traffic and then slammed into the side of a bus.
“All I remember is just going airborne and thinking ‘when is this going to stop,’” he said. “It seemed like I was just flying and hitting things forever.”
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When he came to rest, he was two rows up from where his wife was sitting. He had a bloody nose his neck and back hurt. Crawling over the chairs, he found Susan. She didn’t want to be moved because her shoulder hurt too much, but she was otherwise OK.
“People I was sitting next to weren’t there … they had been thrown completely out of the back of the duck,” he said.
Tim walked around the scene and tried to help before heading to the emergency room. He said he saw people trapped in the front of the duck and inside the bus. He saw people who had been thrown from the bus lying in blood, and others “desperate to try to find their loved ones.”
“It just really takes it out of you when you see a paramedic walk up to a lady and put his fingers on her neck and her wrist and she is not breathing,” he said. “When you’ve got people on the yellow tarp and people on the red tarp and the people on the red tarp are dying, it is pretty dramatic.”
The Gesners were in town from Orlando visiting Susan’s son who moved here last year, and were excited to ride the duck. They had considered pre-booking seats so they could be in the front row for their tour.
Lying in the emergency room at Virginia Mason Medical Center after the crash, Gesner said now he is relieved they were the last to arrive for their 10:30 a.m. tour, because it put them in the very back of the duck.
“Talk about fate and everything happening for a reason,” he said.