Mechanical Issue Blamed for Ferry Running Aground; Vessel Towed Out of Brooklyn Inlet

Officials removed 125 people from the ferry, seven of which were crew members

NBC Universal, Inc.

The passenger ferry that ran aground in New York City on Saturday has been removed from the inlet where it was stuck for nearly 12 hours due to a mechanical issue.

The Seastreak ferry ran aground in the late afternoon with 125 people on board, a count determined by the FDNY Saturday following a complete evacuation of the vessel. The company released a statement several hours after the boat hit land stating a mechanical issue caused the ferry to lose power and steering.

The Commodore was traveling through the East River from New Jersey to a terminal on the east side of Manhattan when it veered into the shoreline near Bushwick Inlet Park. At approximately 3 a.m., the ferry was floated once again and was being toward back later that afternoon, Seastreak said Sunday.

"Once in dry dock at the shipyard, Seastreak will work with its regulatory agency, the USCG, to determine the root cause of the failure. We won't know the extent of the damage or the length of time for repairs until the vessel has been removed from the water and fully surveyed," the company statement read.

The first distress calls were made at 4:13 p.m. FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala said marine units already in nearby waters were able to respond within minutes.

Gala said all 125 people on board, 118 passengers and seven crew members, were safely removed from the vessel. One crew member did suffer minor injuries and was taken to a hospital in the city.

"All of a sudden it swerved to the right and went into an inlet," one of the passengers told NBC New York. "The crew was telling us 'sit down sit down,' screaming 'sit down sit down.' We felt it run aground, the boat was shaking."

The responding agencies also had to make quick work to attend to the ferry, which was taking on water. Two hours after the ferry initially ran aground, Gala said crews were "winning the battle" to dewater the vessel and once that was complete a salvage company would come out to determine the safest way to remove the ferry.

The Seastreak ferry operates a route between New Jersey and New York City that runs through the East River to a ferry terminal at East 35th Street -- the same route the ferry was running before the collision with the Brooklyn shoreline.

Seastreak said a second ferry that departed after Commodore was canceled, but further service would continue for the rest of the day.

Contact Us