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Ferry Crashes in Lower Manhattan, More Than 70 Injured

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A rush hour commuter ferry with more than 320 passengers aboard crashed Wednesday morning as it approached a Wall Street pier. News 4's Greg Cergol reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013)

    A rush hour commuter ferry with more than 320 passengers aboard crashed Wednesday morning as it approached a Wall Street pier, knocking riders off their feet and down stairwells, injuring more than 70 people, police said.

    Two people were critically hurt -- one with a head injury. Nine were serious, 17 were guarded and dozens more were minor. No passengers were thrown into the water, officials said. 

    Ferry Passengers Describe Crash

    [NY] Ferry Passengers Describe Crash
    An eyewitness to the crash involving the Seastreak ferry that left from the Highlands in New Jersey describes the terrifying moment when another passenger got seriously injured. Brian Thompson reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013)

    The Seastreak ferry left Highlands, N.J. at 8 a.m. with 326 people aboard, including five crew members, and had a hard landing at Pier 11, which is located at South Street and Gouverneur Lane. It struck a loading barge that it was passing while trying to dock, according to Seastreak President James Barker.

    "There was a jolt when that occurred, throwing the people forward into their seats and the walls," Barker told NBC 4 New York.

    Dozens of Injured Ferry Passengers Flood NY Hospitals

    [NY] Dozens of Injured Ferry Passengers Flood NY Hospitals
    New York City emergency rooms were flooded with victims after the morning crash of a commuter ferry from New Jersey. Jonathan Vigliotti reports. (Published Thursday, Jan 10, 2013)

    City officials said the ferry hit two slips and was traveling at about 10-12 knots, equal to 11-15 mph.The front of the ferry had a large gash after the crash.

    Passenger Sean Boyle told NBC 4 New York that the vessel seemed to head "full speed right into the pier," and said some riders were thrown down the stairs on the boat.

    Ferry Rider: I Was Thrown in Air, Knocked Unconscious

    [NY] Ferry Rider: I Was Thrown in Air, Knocked Unconscious
    Ferry rider Ashley Furman describes being tossed in the air and knocked unconscious when the Seastreak ferry crashed into Pier 11 in Manhattan Wednesday morning. (Published Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013)

    "Everybody got jolted right out of their seats," he said.

    Police said a total of 74 people were taken to hospitals.

    From the Archives: 2003 Staten Island Ferry Crash

    [NY] From the Archives: 2003 Staten Island Ferry Crash
    Video of the Staten Island ferry crash on Oct. 15, 2003, in which the vessel Andrew J. Barberi crashed into a pier at the St. George terminal, killing 11 people and hurting 71 others. (Published Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013)

    Riders said the crash took everyone by surprise.

    "I was talking to somebody and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground," said Ashley Furman, who said she was thrown 6 feet and knocked out.

    Authorities said the most seriously hurt was a 39-year-old man with the head injury.

    Dee Wertz was on shore waiting for the ferry and said "it was coming in a little wobbly."

    Rider: Ferry Crashed "Full Speed" Into Pier

    [NY] Rider: Ferry Crashed "Full Speed"  Into Pier
    Sean Boyle, who was on the Seastreak ferry when it crashed into a pier in Manhattan, described the accident to reporter Greg Cergol. (Published Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013)

    "It hit the right side of the boat on the dock hard, like a bomb," she said. After impact, the boat docked and passengers raced off, she said.

    "I think people just wanted to get the heck off the boat as soon as they could," she said.

    Seastreak carries commuters from ports in New Jersey to Pier 11, East 35th Street and World Financial Center, according to its website. In its five-vessel fleet are four boats that can carry 400 passengers and one that can carry 149.

    The Coast Guard said it was on scene and assisting in the investigation, which would include routine drug and alcohol tests of the ferry captain. The crew passed initial breath tests Wednesday, officials said.

    The 10-year-old ferry, called the Seastreak Wall Street, was last inspected in July 2012, right after new engines were installed, Coast Guard spokesman Charles Rowe said.

    The National Transportation Safety Board said it was launching a team to investigate.