Coast Guard Releases Report on Investigation Into Ferry, Kayak Crash on Hudson River

What to Know

  • News 4 has obtained a report of the Coast Guard investigation into a NY Waterway ferry crash into a group of kayakers on the Hudson
  • The Coast Guard concludes that water sport business Manhattan Kayaking Company acted negligently
  • It also says the ferry captain also shared some of the blame

A Coast Guard investigation into the NY Waterway ferry boat collision with a group of kayakers on the Hudson River last summer says both parties share the blame in the incident. 

The dramatic scene played out on the Hudson River on Aug. 30, with empty kayaks overturned, some with injured passengers still clinging to watercrafts and awaiting rescue. 

Audio of the dispatch recordings revealed the ferry captain saying over the radio: "I just hit a kayaker. So I'm stopped in front of Pier 79. I need the Coast Guard here as soon as possible." 

Four of the nine kayakers suffered injuries. One of them described the terrifying moment she realized a ferry had slammed into her family.

"My sister jumped from her portion of the dual kayak screaming my brother's name as the ferry crashed into their kayak, sending them both underwater," the woman told investigators, as transcribed in the Coast Guard investigation report obtained by News 4. 

The Coast Guard said water sport business Manhattan Kayak Company acted negligently by not taking action early in the trip to avoid collision and not notifying ferry operators they would be traveling in the area, according to the Coast Guard report. 

The kayak guide whose arm was nearly severed told investigators, "I never thought that something like this would every happen to us." 

He claimed he only saw the ferry seconds before the ferry struck the group.

"Once I realized it wasn't going to turn, that's when I kind of tried to signal towards it," he told investigators, according to the report. "But it all happened in seconds, really." 

But the Coast Guard's investigation found the captain of the ferry, Jersey City -- who claimed he was blinded by the sun -- also shared some of the blame. 

According to report, "the vessel captain did not maintain a safe speed or a lookout once the sun glare existed and was also at fault in the incident." 

When asked by the investigator how fast he was going at the time of the collision, the ferry captain said, "I don't know," according to the Coast Guard report. 

NY Waterway officials said Monday evening they had not yet reviewed the report and could not comment. Manhattan Kayak Company has not responded to News 4's call or email. 

The ferry was departing the pier on 39th Street when it struck the boaters, Donald tweeted.  
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Chopper 4 footage shows the NYPD pull three of the boaters out of the river and onto a rescue boat. 
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A spokesman for NY Waterway, the ferry's operator, says it is cooperating with the New York Police Department and the Coast Guard on the investigatio
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