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    Default Sometimes You Have To Wonder What They Were Thinking...

    When I heard the story on the radio this morning, it made me think. Then I read it from the paper and really started to wonder. I have hi-lited what I think is the more important statements.

    Four dead in tour boat sinking on the Ottawa River near Parliament Hill

    STEPHEN THORNE Canadian Press

    Sunday, June 23, 2002

    GATINEAU, Que. (CP) - A tour boat that capsized on the Ottawa River, slipping under water within seconds and taking four passengers with it, was under investigation for nearly sinking last summer, a lead investigator said Sunday.

    Four bodies, among them that of a mother and her two children, were pulled from the water about 2 hours after the yellow amphibious craft sank near Parliament Hill on Sunday afternoon Witnesses described the scene as intense.

    "It went right under the water in a matter of seconds," an incredulous Christine Bertrand told CTV News in a shaky voice.

    "And then everybody was just scrambling and that was it. And then (they said), 'Call 911!' ."

    There were 10 passengers and two crew members on board the Lady Duck, which also has wheels to travel on land.

    The captain issued a mayday call to a marina just metres from the scene and ordered passengers to don life-jackets.

    "Most did," said Normand Breton, chief investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. "Some didn't. The boat sank within minutes. I would even say within seconds. It's sad but true."

    The Lady Duck, owned by Lady Dive Tours Amphibus, is already the subject of a safety board investigation for a previous incident, said Breton. (I wonder who "put it back in Service"? M-Two7)

    The boat was ordered out of service for a couple of weeks after it took on water and grounded itself on the Ottawa side of the river on July 1, 2001. There were no injuries in that case.

    The safety board's investigation was to conclude this summer.

    It wasn't known if Sunday's sinking was related to the previous incident, said Breton.

    The safety board has ordered all vessels run by the company out of service, he added.

    Lady Dive Tours Amphibus refused comment Sunday.

    Lt. Yves Martel of the Gatineau police said three of the four victims in Sunday's accident were part of a Montreal family - a 43-year-old mother and her two daughters, aged 13 and 5. The woman's husband survived.

    "He was not distraught," Pierre Alexandre, a marina worker, said of the father. "He was stunned."

    The body of a 66-year-old woman from Saint Agathe, Que., was also pulled from the river, which was about 12 metres deep at the accident site.

    Breton said the victims had tried to take safety precautions.

    "The victims were wearing life-jackets," he said. "They were trapped inside."

    The boat was near the end of its tour and returning to port when it began taking in water over the hood of the vehicle into the cabin, said Breton.

    Private boats from the marina went to rescue passengers, some of whom were able to swim to shore.

    Boat safety regulations are not as strict for vessels that carry twelve or fewer passengers, such as the Lady Duck.

    Such smaller craft require a vehicle licence and a small-craft licence from Transport Canada, the agency that governs marine, rail and air transportation.

    It was Transport Canada that inspected the Lady Duck and allowed the boat to return to service after the incident last summer.

    The sinking comes just four months after Transport Minister David Collenette said a new training program focusing on safety aboard small passenger vessels would be implemented.

    The program was in response to another tour boat sinking that occurred almost exactly two years before Sunday's tragedy.

    Two school children drowned when their glass-bottomed tour boat slipped under choppy waves in Georgian Bay off Tobermory, Ont., on June 16, 2000.

    An inquest into the sinking of the True North II produced 61 recommendations after hearing that the craft was barely seaworthy despite nearly 30 years of federal inspections by eight Transport Canada officials. (I wonder who these Inspectors were, and was there an inquiry to their practices? M-Two7)

    An inquest jury suggested last year that Transport Canada review its mandate to ensure it serves "the Canadian public, rather than the ship owner" and adopt a "safety culture" to ensure that inspections are considered "safety audits."

    Wade Simmons and Henrike Foerster, both 12, drowned when their boat carrying 13 Grade 7 students sank after being barraged by high waves.

    Copyright 2002 The Canadian Press
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    I am not sure when....it seems several years ago....but...I think something similar happened in the U.S. with a tour boat.
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    Follow this link to get a picture of what we're talking about (correct me if I'm wrong 27). Ducks


    I rode one of those things on Beaver Lake in Arkansas a few years ago.
    They had one sink and drown a few people there not too long ago.

    How do you get trapped in one of these things? It's not like there are windows to crawl through.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    From the radio report, I think you are on the right track regarding the type of vehicle, Silver. The radio reported that it was "an amphibious bus", so you picture link is probably very close if not right on.

    If it is, then I see why there is a problem with keeping them seaworthy. These vehicles are WWII issue, and from all accounts were not very seaworthy even when new, off the assembly line.
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 06-24-2002 at 01:13 PM.
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    I wonder how many of these things are still around? I know they are a product of WWII. I'm not sure if any were built after the 1940's or not. They are essentially an amphibious "duece and a half" transport truck. I can't imagine they would be very sea worthy. I believe they were probably designed to ford rivers and the like.
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    found this from a yahoo search......http://www.dukw.com/

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    Not too many years ago, we had one of these for Emergency Management. Would have been very useful for flooded areas. We never were able to try it in water though, I think mostly because we were scared. As for getting trapped, I believe they were seatbelted in place. No, not very seaworthy - a wave of only 2 or 3 feet would go over the entire craft, but as for lakes and rivers, they work well. Again, one good wave over the front and there is more water coming in than it can get rid of.

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    Silver and CJ are on the right path with their guesses. The amphib in question seems to have been a military-surplus DUKW "Duck", which is an amphibious 2 1/2 ton cargo truck of WWII fame. Properly maintained (and that is the *KEY* word here!)they can and have swam from ship to shore,
    and back, in landings (invasions) of the past. I'm not sure when the military did quit using them, but like we've said, they were of WWII manufacture, so that is abt 57 yrs since the last one was made.
    I'm helping restore one for a vehicle collector, and I personally can't imagine wanting to "swim" it, considering how much they go for restored on the collector's market. But, to each his own.... The problem being, of course, is maintanence. Being made 50+ years ago, spares are becoming few & far between. One of the most crucial parts for a "swimmer" are several seals, that if they go, will cause flooding. And if the sump pump isn't working, or can't handle to load...
    BLOOP, BLOOP....
    I'll bet that an investigation shows that poor upkeep was a major factor.
    As for being trapped, I've seen several that had homemade canopies over the cargo area, where they installed seating. I imagine this is where the victims were trapped.
    My sympathies to the families....

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    Wow, 2 tankers on 1 thread.
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    Seattle also has these in use for tours. After hearing all the info everyone has provided, makes me glad I told my husband no thanks a few weeks ago when he suggested we take the tour.


    http://www.ridetheducksofseattle.com/


    Here is the history of them listed on the website:


    The DUKW (or as we like to call them 'Ducks') was an amphibious landing craft developed by the United States Army during World War II. It was designed to deliver cargo from ships at sea directly to the shore. The DUKW (D-built in 1942, U-amphibious 2 ton truck, K-front wheel drive, W-rear wheel drive) was equipped with a hull pump that could move 260 gallons of water a minute! It also came with a hand pump that could move 50 gallons a minute. It could climb a 60% grade and broach an 18-inch high obstacle. It had a range of 220 miles on land and 50 miles in water. It could carry a cargo load of 5,350 lbs., and hold 25 fully equipped troops.

    It was shortly after the German blitzkrieg of Poland, Denmark, Norway, the Low Countries, France and the air attack on Britain that the United States realized it would have to make an amphibious invasion of Europe from England. America realized it would need thousands of landing crafts and hundreds of cargo and transport ships.

    DUKWs were designed to maneuver with great agility. They could fight their way through choppy oceans, huge breakers, and exit the water onto soft sand without losing traction. They had specially designed 'windshield surf boards' to avoid taking on too much water and flooding out the driver.

    The DUKWs first battle was the assault on Sicily during WWII. The DUKWs performed yeoman services such as deliverying emergency supplies to the troops, as well as evacuating wounded soldiers. At the end of the DUKWs first battle, many naval officers expressed their belief that the assault may have failed had it not been for the DUKWs.

    The DUKWs were used again during the invasion of Salerno on September 9, 1943. It was estimated that over 400 DUKWs would be needed to make the invasion a success. Between September 9 and October 1, an average of 90 landing craft and 150 DUKWs moved 190,000 troops, 30,000 vehicles, and 120,000 tons of supplies across the invasion beaches of Salerno. Just three weeks after the invasion, the Allies captured the port of Naples.

    A fleet of 600 DUKWs assembled in the port of Naples. This enabled the Allies to unload 3,500 tons of supplies each day! In fact, between June 6, 1944 and May 8, 1945, the DUKWs moved 3,050,000 tons of the 15,750,000 tons unloaded by the Allies in Europe during the war!

    The last amphibious operation of the DUKWs during WWII was the famous Rhine River crossing at the end of March, 1945. 370 DUKWs were used to move men and supplies across.

    In addition to the European allies use of the DUKWs, they were also put to good use in the southwestern Pacific. DUKWs were used in New Guinea and Bougainville in 1943. They played a prominent role in the invasion of the Phillipines. They were also invaluable in the capture of Manila. They supported the landing on Iwo Jima, as well as participating in the final battle on Okinawa.

    After their success in WWII, the DUKWs were deactivated, only to be re-activated and sent to Korea as soon as the war there began. In 1956, the DUKW evolved into a more developed version that was bigger and better. It was named the DRAKE. However, due to their high cost of production, they were never authorized for production. The DUKWs continued serving the United States Army until the mid-1960s.

    Although DUKWs were used predominantly for the military, many were used by civilians: Police departments, fire stations and rescue units, just to name a few. Not to mention our wonderful Emerald City attraction: Ride the Ducks of Seattle!



    Lady.
    Last edited by lady_in_turnouts; 06-24-2002 at 02:12 PM.
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    Did some digging, now that I am home and mostly unmolested. Here is what I found on the vehicle in question:

    http://www.amphibus.com/

    This is the company who had the incident, and the vehicle type. It appears to be a hybrid vehicle...
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    Looks like they've enclosed it. Explains the difficulty in people getting out.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    As someone stated before, they are not the most seaworthy vehicles around... in fact, as stated, they were not really all that seaworthy in their orignal roles during the second world war.

    Two-7, there is one or two that tour the inner harbour.... wouldn't want to ride one out to the waterfront in anything more then a foot of waves or you would end up like so many on the Beaches of Normandy... (at least in a dukw you had a better chance then in DD Sherman... once they where swamped you had no chance, because chances are the hatch was buttoned up). From my understanding, the Dukw was used mostly for short water transports, IE, the supply ship would nose in as close as possible and the dukw would ferry supplies back and forth (because apart from the mullberry harbours there wasn't much of anything on the Normandy beaches).

    Maybe if you modified the orignal design and made the size a little larger and took off the .30 cals (or vickers as the Canadian and british ones had) you could increase boyance and degress the chances of being swamped... but still... they are NOT high atop the list of things I want to tour from (athough, having one to play with would be sorta interesting... for a few months).
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    Actually, if you read the website from Quebec carefully, you will see that this vehicle is totally built from the ground up, using a SCHOOL BUS as the main structure.

    Here are some excerpts from the "Press Release" section of the website:

    The "grand splash" began May 1999. In his other life, Mr. Beauchesne designs and builds "Big Foot" trucks that are used to spread tons of lime over farmers' fields. So, adapting an existing vehicle for another use is not new to him.

    He began with an existing school bus chassis and engine - a 6.9 litre diesel capable of generating 165 horsepower. He then built a series of ribs up from the base, covering them with a thick sheets of aluminum.

    A 22-inch propeller, which runs off the same motor, was added at the rear and a smaller prop at the front for low-speed turning of the bow. The tricky part, he says, was ensuring the motor was sealed. There is optional four-wheel drive, so that the front pair of wheels can pull the craft out of the water.

    On top, he added curved sheets of special tinted plastic to give the passenger a bird's eye view. A washroom was added at the rear, as were comfort touches like air conditioning.

    When all was said and done, the vehicle was 46 feet long, eight feet, six inches wide, almost 12 feet tall and weighed 20,300 pounds. It can attain land speeds of 110 km/h and water speeds of six knots. It has eight wheels and an ark-like profile.

    So far, it cannot fly.
    Good thing too!

    Mr. Besner says Canadian Coast Guard engineers came out to inspect the bus-boat, and ran a series of tests and checked on the craft and pronounced her seaworthy.

    There are life jackets for everyone on board and an inflatable life boat at the rear that can accommodate a whole bus load of passengers.


    Given the choice, I would rather swim the DUWK instead, thanks. In all the classes I took in shop, I was never told that a school bus should float or swim.
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 06-24-2002 at 08:16 PM.
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    ... or fly....
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    26, RLFMAO on that one. Never considered the implications of "flight". That would be almost as bad as.... say a flying sheep... or a cow...
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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    Default Ducks?

    Well,a tourism company brought two of this so called amphibious landing ships into Singapore a month ago.Think they called them The Singapore Duck tours and they charge a hefty $50 for ONE single ride that is Barely 20 minutes long!!so much for promoting tourism.So far nothing has happened to them but i find them a nuisance to me

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    Well now...... I stand corrected. After looking at the webpage of the manufacturer, it appears that this is a totally different critter than the military DUKW that we had assumed it to be. (And we know about Assuming....)
    Anyway..... that having been said, and looking at what is there, I think that I'd feel safer taking my friends work-in-progress-of-restoration DUKW out for a spin on the Potomac! At least this one was *MEANT* to go in the water. This dude took a bus chassis and cobbled it all together. And self-admittedly knowing nothing about boat design..... (Wanna bet his website bites him in the tuckus if there's a trial?!)
    So... and as somebody else said, there's the reason for the passenger entrapment when it sank. I'm amazed that the others got out!
    Sad....

    Jerry
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    Arrow From the AP wires-Updated info

    OTTAWA (CP) - Transport Canada temporarily shut down amphibious
    tour operations across the country Monday while it inspected their
    vessels following a fatal accident on the Ottawa River.
    The urgent inspections were to be completed Tuesday and,
    providing they met standards, operators would be allowed to resume
    tours, said department spokesman Peter Coyles.
    The measure was taken as contract divers investigated the site
    where four people died when the converted Ford F-350 truck in which
    they were riding sank within spitting distance of a dock on
    Sunday.
    Transportation Safety Board investigators expected to pull the
    vessel, called the Lady Duck, out of 12 metres of water by next
    week.
    They were just starting their probe, but already some issues
    were evident:
    - The same vessel was involved in a similar flooding incident
    last summer, without injuries; the final accident report has yet to
    be issued but officials say the company made recommended
    modifications and met Transport Canada requirements. The vessel was
    last inspected May 6.
    - Gatineau emergency services didn't have the equipment to
    conduct a rescue in water that deep and dark; an Ottawa dive crew
    was called for but it was 90 minutes after the incident occurred
    before it arrived and more than 2 hours before it recovered the
    bodies.
    "There are not many police or fire departments in Canada of our
    size that are equipped 24 hours a day, seven days a week with scuba
    divers (able to be) on site right away," said police Lieut. Yves
    Martel.
    "In most cases, you've got to call them. Sometimes they're
    home; sometimes they're not. So you've got to build your team
    before sending the team in the water."
    Witnesses described watching in disbelief as the enclosed Lady
    Duck plowed into the water while trying to make the dock at a
    marina across from Parliament Hill. A dozen people were on board.
    "The water was coming over the windshield and once it did the
    boat plummeted pretty much to the bottom," said Mario Demers, a
    boat owner.
    "It happened very quickly. As soon as the water got over the
    windshield, it was seconds."
    Everyone went under with the boat, said Demers, and seconds
    later began popping up as marina members took to their boats.
    Four passengers - a 66-year-old woman and a 43-year-old mother
    and her two daughters, ages 13 and five, were trapped inside and
    died.
    Transport Canada has halted all operations of Amphibus-Lady Dive
    Inc., the Ottawa company that ran Lady Duck.
    A company spokesman said its president, Daniel Beauchenes, was
    contacting the relatives of all the passengers.
    "He is devastated by the situation and is sending condolences
    to the families who suffered losses," Rene Berthiaume told the
    Ottawa Sun.
    Weather conditions at the time were calm. A ferocious wind and
    rain storm swept through the area about an hour later.
    "We've been telling each other for years that these things were
    an accident waiting to happen," said Jean Vanasse, owner of an
    eight-metre pleasure craft.
    "Most of the people who get on these buses have no knowledge of
    how to put a life-jacket on, especially in an emergency when you
    know you're going down in the water and you're stressed out."
    Vanasse said the Lady Duck would list dramatically when it
    turned by the marina dock and a wake of any appreciable size
    threatened to swamp it.
    However, Transport Canada's Coyles said stability tests were
    conducted on the Lady Duck and it met standards.
    Emergency crews were at the scene within eight minutes of
    Sunday's accident but were without the equipment they needed -
    namely air tanks.
    "We've got equipment and we're able to go fast and accurate
    when we're talking about safety in the water but as soon as
    somebody is under the water, we've got a capacity to go for two
    metres," said Martel. "After that, you need tanks. We don't have
    that on board."
    Vanasse said one diver in the initial response team was able to
    reach the vehicle within minutes but couldn't remain under long
    enough to do any good.
    About 50 people gathered on the dock as rescue crews waited in
    rubber dinghies just metres away. People were shouting at the
    rescuers to go in, not realizing they didn't have the equipment to
    do the job.
    The river is currently high and fast and very murky from
    sediment carried from the shore, Vanasse added.
    Investigators are considering whether the same faulty valve that
    caused the Lady Duck to begin sinking before it beached last summer
    may be behind Sunday's accident.
    The three divers who went down Monday were trying to inspect the
    valve on the bottom of the hull used to drain the vessel when it's
    on land, said Normand Breton, the chief safety board investigator
    at the scene.
    "Previously, last summer, the operation of the valve was not
    adequate," said Breton. "It's going to be one of the possible
    causes (of Sunday's incident). We will look at it."
    Safety board investigations usually take about 200 days, said
    Fred Perkins, the board's director of marine investigations.
    The report on last summer's incident has not been finalized,
    Perkins said, in part because the board is conducting between 35
    and 37 marine investigations and is short-staffed.
    The delay is unlikely to be a factor in Sunday's accident, he
    suggested, because any safety issues discovered during the course
    of the investigation would already have been addressed.
    Perkins said the board investigation will look at the adequacy
    of response to the emergency.
    It's not the first North American tragedy involving an
    amphibious tour boat. On May 1, 1999, near Hot Springs, Ark., the
    Miss Majestic went down in Lake Hamilton with the loss of 13
    lives.
    U.S. investigators determined water seeped into the Second World
    War-era landing craft around the driveshaft. Their report said the
    vessel's canopy was a major impediment to passengers trying to
    escape.

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    The DUKW is off the hook for this one. I can't imagine why you would have a closed canopy on a vessel like this. I guess they wanted "all season" capability.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

    These statements are mine and mine alone
    I.A.C.O.J. Building crust and proud of it

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    Okay, it was Lake Hamilton, not Beaver Lake--but still Arkansas...
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  22. #22
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    This comes from the [I]OTTAWA SUN - LETTER TO THE EDITOR[/]

    Lady Duck
    The sinking of the Lady Duck tour boat was a terrible disaster that claimed the lives of four tourists. Fact is it should never have happened. Reality is it could have been worse.

    Eight people survived and, by the sound of it, they can credit only luck and their own wits for doing so. Because, once the vessel began taking on water it was only a matter of seconds before disaster struck. The emergency plan appears to have been little more than for the captain to yell "abandon ship" and for rescuers to work frantically, absent the necessary equipment to save more lives than they did.

    The incident raises urgent questions about safety, especially since the vessel was already the subject of an investigation following an eerily similar incident last year, although in that case, fortunately, no lives were lost.

    Yes, the same investigators probing this latest incident likely know the Lady Duck all too well after a faulty valve caused it to abruptly sink last year. They are now wondering if that faulty valve may have caused the latest accident, this time with disastrous consequences.

    So, why was that vessel allowed back in the water just last month by Transport Canada when the Transportation Safety Board had yet to release its report on last year's incident?

    Transport Canada has now scrambled to issue urgent safety checks of all similar amphibious vehicles currently in service in Canada. Good idea. But again, why did it have to wait until a second incident involving the same vessel to do so?

    The questions don't stop there.

    Why were four passengers on board the Lady Duck unable to escape despite a few seconds warning? Surely, after last year's incident somebody -- anybody! -- ordered additional safety precautions. What steps, if any, were taken following last year's incident to ensure nobody would die?

    Rescuers worked valiantly to pull survivors from the murky waters of the Ottawa River and we congratulate them on their work. But why did it take nearly two hours before properly equipped divers were able to get to the scene -- far too late to rescue the two women and two children trapped on board?

    The Ottawa River is a busy tourist area in the shadow of Parliament Hill. Tour and cruise boats regularly ply the waters along with private boats. And yet rescuers, including police and fire crews, lacked sufficient equipment to conduct a quick rescue in the murky depths.

    We should demand immediate answers.

    Ottawa Sun, 25 June 2002
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

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  23. #23
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    Indeed, answers are needed.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

    These statements are mine and mine alone
    I.A.C.O.J. Building crust and proud of it

  24. #24
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    Smile

    I had seen some of these tourist traps in Branson, MO while on vacation, and there was no way I was going to let my family on one. They didn't look safe to me at all. I would detour anyone from them.

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    I do beleive that one of the DUK's in DC went down at took a couple of people with it. It happened a few years ago when I was visiting my dad and wondered who would be dumb enough to ride in some thing my granderfater used in WW II.
    SRA Matt Reichle
    Driver/operator
    USAF Fire Protection

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