A commuter ferry slammed into a dock in lower Manhattan this morning during rush hour, injuring more than 50 people commuting into New York City. Newspapers report that at least two of the ferry passengers were critically injured.
CBS News states that the accident involved the Seastreak Wall Street. The New York Times states that the ferry is operated by Sea Streak Ferry, and provides daily service from New Jersey to Lower Manhattan. It can accommodate several hundred passengers. There were over 300 passengers aboard at the time of the accident.
At the time of the impact the ferry was proceeding at a high rate of speed (with one passenger estimating around 60 MPH) when it violently struck the pier. Scores of people who had been standing up and waiting to disembark were hurled to the deck, into poles and walls, and down stairs.
Some people described the accident like a big car crash.
57 people were reportedly injured according to the New York Times which showed dramatic photographs of passengers lying on flatboards with their heads and necks immobilized.
The Times mentions compares this incident to the October 15, 2003, accident when a Staten Island Ferry hit a maintenance pier at full speed, killing 11 and injuring 70 people. A pilot, who had been incapacitated at the time of the crash, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. The investigators also faulted training and enforcement of safety rules.
The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating and gathering information about this latest incident.
You can review the Seastreak's website here and its twitter page here. One of the last tweets on Seastreaks page is by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg "Thanks to @SeaStreakNJNYC . . . residents of the #Rockaways have an affordable & reliable way to get to #Manhattan."
Photographs of the scene in lower Manhattan look like a war zone:
Photo credit: Mark Lennihan / AP via New York Times.