Dozens hurt when ferry hits dock - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Dozens hurt when ferry hits dock

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Chris Avore took this photo on the Seastreak ferry. (Used with permission) Chris Avore took this photo on the Seastreak ferry. (Used with permission)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

At least 93 people were hurt when a commuter ferry hit a dock in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday morning.  One of the victims was in critical condition with a head wound.

Passengers on the boat were sent flying as the boat violently crashed into the dock.

The ferry, traveling about 10-12 knots (approximately 11.5-13.8 mph), hit two slips before coming to a stop, according to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

The normal speed for a docking ferry is less than 1 knot, said James Mercante, an attorney specializing in maritime law.

A passenger, Ellen Foran of Neptune City, N.J., said people tumbled on top of one another, hysterical and crying.

One unnamed witness told MyFoxNY.com, "Some people hit glass. Some people hit chairs." Another victim told Fox 5 News the impact threw him 15-20 feet.

Some people who were among the 348 on board during the incident tweeted that there was a lot of blood on the boat from people who were injured.

Passengers were seen in a make-shift staging area with bandages on their head, legs and other body parts.

The accident happened about 8:40 a.m. at Pier 11 at South Street and Gouverneur Lane as the Seastreak Wall Street Ferry attempted to dock. There was gash in the front of the boat after the incident.

A tug boat returned the ferry to Conners Highlands Terminal in New Jersey early Thursday morning.

"This is an ongoing incident," said Commissioner Joseph Bruno, of the Office of Emergency Management.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard are also investigating the "hard landing."

"We are going into this investigation with an open mind," said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt via the agency's Twitter feed.

Coast Guard law enforcement officers helped test the ferry crew for drugs and alcohol. The Coast Guard will also assist with interviews, technical analyses, ship and hull inspections, a review of all records, and more.

New York City's emergency notification system sent an alert that emergency personnel were on the scene investigating and commuters should expect delays in the area.

Video from SkyFoxHD showed a large number of fire fighters setting up a temporary staging area on the dock with stretchers and other equipment.

Many people, several in business suits, were being taken off of the ferry on back boards for evaluation.

Twenty-one victims were brought to New York Downtown Hospital and twelve patients were taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

One of those injured is in critical condition, said officials from New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

The Seastreak Ferry provides daily service from Atlantic Highlands and Conners Highlands in New Jersey to Pier 11.

The pier reopened at noon.

The ferry had recently switched from jets to propellers because of their fuel savings. One person tweeted that the crew had been having issues docking since the switch was made.

Seastreak issued a statement on the incident saying: "The vessel's crew immediately initiated emergency response procedures and authorities responded quickly due to the location... Seastreak's incident response team is on scene... Our thoughts and prayers are with those that were injured."

The company canceled the 6:10 p.m. departure from Pier 11 for Wednesday. 

Coast Guard records show the Seastreak Wall Street has been involved in at least two prior docking incidents.

On January 29, 2010, the boat hit a cluster of fender piles at the Sandy Hook Bay Marina.  The incident punched a hole through the skin of the ship above the waterline.

On August 11, 2009, the ferry's controls became unresponsive as it was docking at East 34th St.  It suffered a 2- to 3- foot tear in it's bow.

No injuries were reported in either of those incidents.

DID YOU WITNESS THE CRASH? EMAIL THE NTSB: WITNESS@NTSB.GOV

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