A ferry with 125 people on board ran aground Saturday afternoon on the edge of Brooklyn, prompting a joint rescue response from the NYPD and FDNY as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.
The first distress calls were made at 4:13 p.m. after the Seastreak ferry ran aground on the Brooklyn shoreline near Bushwick Inlet Park. 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 investigation into what caused the ferry to crash is not complete, but Gala said investigators from the Coast Guard are looking at the vessel's steering.
Meanwhile, Seastreak released a statement saying the a mechanical issue was to blame for the ferry losing power.
"Just after 4pm today, while traveling along the East River to E. 35th St. in Manhattan from Highlands, NJ, the Commodore experienced a mechanical issue that caused the vessel to lose power and steering. The vessel slowly drifted into Bushwick Inlet on the Brooklyn side of the East River and came to rest along the shore," the company said.
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.