A high-speed commuter ferry carrying more than 300 people from New Jersey to lower Manhattan slammed into the dock during Wednesday’s morning rush hour, injuring at least 85 passengers, 2 critically. Nine people were also in serious condition.
The force of the crash sent riders on the Seasteak Wall Street flying out of their seats, broke windows and left a huge gash in the bottom of the ferry. Firefighters and emergency personnel treated dozens of injured passengers along a dock near South Street Seaport before they were taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center or New York Downtown Hospital.
The National Transportation Safety Board team is investigating the crash and looking into whether the company complied with regulations, and checking for any human error, board member Robert L. Sumwalt said at a news conference.
Breath alcohol tests of the captain and crew were negative, James Barker Jr., president of Seastreak, said.
The 140-foot boat had 326 passengers and five crew members aboard, including the captain, Jason Reimer, who had about 10 years of experience with Seastreak, the company that owns the ferry. The ferry was moving at 10 to 12 knots -- 12 to 13 mph -- toward Pier 11 on the East River when it hit the pier's Slip D, then continued to hit Slip B, said Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York City transportation commissioner.
The Seastreak Wall Street has been involved in two accidents since 2009, according to Coast Guard records. One on August 12, 2009 while docking at East 35th Street, and then again on Jan. 29, 2010, when it hit a cluster of fender piles while docking. No injuries were reported in either incident.
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