New York Seastreak Ferry Accident Injures Dozens, Two Critically

Wednesday, 09 Jan 2013 05:04 PM

By Megan Anderle

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A New York City-bound ferry from New Jersey crashed into a dock in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday morning injuring 57 people, two of them critically.

The Seastreak Ferry was carrying 326 people and 5 crew members when it made a "hard docking" at a Wall Street pier just before 9 a.m. The ferry was moving at 11 to 16 miles per hour when it missed one loading barge and hit another, throwing dozens of people to the floor, according to the New York Times.

"All I can tell you is [that] it was brutal," passenger Anthony Luica told The New York Post after he was released from New York Downtown Hospital. "It was a disaster. It happened so quick; everyone was lying everywhere. Everyone flew and people were on the ground."

Emergency crews descended on the scene, carting away to area hospitals dozens of passengers who had been thrown down stairs and smashed into windows.

"I saw a lot of bleeding heads with white bandages (and) a lot of people strapped to boards," Julie Westfall, who witnessed the incident, told CNN.

None of the passengers landed in the frigid water, officials said. A large gash could be seen on the side of the ferry.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash, but it wasn't immediately clear, according to the New York Fire Department.

The ferry company issued a statement saying they would work with officials to determine the cause of the accident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those that were injured," its statement said.

The captain and crew passed initial breathalyzer tests, according to reports.

The Seastreak Ferry can carry more than 500 passengers and runs from Highlands and Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey to Manhattan.

Coast Guard records indicate that the same Seastreak ferry has been involved in prior crashes, including one in 2009 when the vessel slammed into a New Jersey dock and tore a 2- to 3-foot gash in the starboard bow of the vessel, according to CNN. A year later, a collision with a dock pile punctured a hole in the port side of the same boat.

Wednesday's crash also drew comparisons to an unrelated 2010 incident when a ferry boat with mechanical problems crashed into the Staten Island Ferry terminal, injuring 36 people.

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