NEW YORK -- At least 57 people were injured, two critically, when a commuter ferry smashed into a dock in lower Manhattan’s financial district on Wednesday, officials said.
Investigators from the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive at Pier 11 to begin investigating the ferry accident involving the Seastreak Wall Street, part of the fleet operated by Seastreak. The New Jersey-based company operates daily ferry service between Manhattan and New Jersey.
Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner who confirmed the number of injured, said it appeared the boat was going 10 to 12 knots when it hit.
At a news conference at Pier 11, Sadik-Khan also said it “appears” the boat hit one slip on the pier, then “continued on” and hit another slip, where it came to its stop.
The weather was clear and calm as the Seastreak neared the dock, and witnesses who were on land and those on the boat said it did not appear to be going faster than normal.
“It wasn’t going fast. It was doing what it normally does,” one woman told reporters at Pier 11. “I don’t know if some current hit it … but it really hit hard.” Another passenger, Ellen Foran, told Associated Press: “We were pulling into the dock. The boat hit the dock. We just tumbled on top of each other. I got thrown into everybody else.”
A Coast Guard spokesman, Charles Rowe, said in a phone interview with the local NBC TV station that the ferry carried 326 passengers and five crewmembers. Seastreak did not immediately respond to phone calls or emails.
The Seastreak Wall Street has three decks, is 140.7 feet long and has a maximum speed of 42 knots. According to the Seastreak website, it entered service in September 2003 and has a capacity of more than 500.
The last major ferry accident in New York City occurred in May 2010 when a Staten Island ferry hit the St. George terminal in Staten Island after leaving lower Manhattan. The crash injured 37 people. The boat involved in that incident also crashed in October 2003 in Staten Island. That incident killed 11 people.