85 hurt in New York ferry crash
January 9th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

85 hurt in New York ferry crash

  • 85 people hurt in Wednesday morning ferry crash at lower Manhattan pier, two critically, authorities say
  • Ferry was carrying passengers from New Jersey to New York City's Pier 11 near Wall Street
  • Below are the latest updates as they come to us. You also can read our full story.

[Update 6:32 p.m. ET] Eighty-five people were injured in the crash, including people who were treated and released at the scene, according to Charles Rowe, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman.

Two people had been listed in critical condition, but now authorities are saying only one person's condition remains critical.

[Update 1:46 p.m. ET] Coast Guard records indicate that the same Seastreak ferry has been involved in prior crashes, including one in 2009 when the vessel slammed into a New Jersey dock and tore a 2- to 3-foot gash in the starboard bow of the vessel.

A year later, a collision with a dock pile punctured a hole in the port side of the same boat.

[Update 12:33 a.m. ET] Seastreak LLC, the company operating the ferry, has released a statement on its website. In part, it says that "our thoughts and prayers are with those that were injured."

"Seastreak LLC will work closely with the federal, state and local authorities to determine the cause of the accident," the statement says.

[Update 12:28 a.m. ET] Two of the 57 hurt passengers are critically injured, authorities say.

[Update 11:43 a.m. ET] U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, releases a statement saying that National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Deborah Hersman assured him "that this serious accident will receive a full and thorough investigation."

“Ferry systems are crucial for New Jersey commuters, and the public must have every assurance that the ferries they ride are operating safely. I have every confidence in Chairman Hersman and the NTSB, and I know they will conduct a first-rate investigation so we can take steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

[Update 11:29 a.m. ET] Authorities have updated the injury count: 57 people were injured, including one critically, officials said at a news conference.

Officials say 326 passengers and five crew members were on board the ferry at the time of the crash at New York City's Pier 11 on the East River.

[Update 11:12 a.m. ET] A man who was on the ferry says "basically it was 60 to zero," describing the two-tiered ferry coming to an abrupt halt on impact. He clarified that he wasn't sure how fast the ferry was going before impact.

"Usually it slows down a little bit, (and) people get up to get off the boat," he continued. "People went flying ... people got thrown down the stairs. That’s how most of the people got hurt."

[Update 11:06 a.m. ET] Julie Westfall, a bystander who wasn't on the ferry and didn't see the crash, says she's seen "a lot of bleeding heads with white bandages (and) a lot of people strapped to boards."

Overhead video of the scene showed emergency workers taking people off the ferry on stretchers, toward ambulances. That activity might have wrapped up - video now shows emergency workers on the ferry, but not tending to anyone.

[Update 11:01 a.m. ET] A little more detail from witnesses: They say that not only were some passengers standing as the ferry hit the dock, as we've heard before, but some of them were waiting at the top of a staircase. Many standing passengers were jolted to the floor when the ferry struck the dock.

[Update 10:58 a.m. ET] The National Transportation Safety Board says it's sending a team to investigate the incident.

[Update 10:46 a.m. ET] Video of the front of the two-tiered ferry from WABC shows a hole torn into the hull.

[Update 10:43 a.m. ET] A passenger, Ashley, 26, tells CNN that she lost consciousness right after the ferry hit the pier.

Ashley says that when the ferry hit the pier, she flew into the air. The next thing she remembers is that she woke up on the floor to see a woman shaking her and asking her to speak.

Ashley then heard emergency workers say that anyone who could walk should get up and leave the ferry. She got up and walked off the ferry and onto the pier, she says.

She says that as she walked through the ferry, she saw many people on the floor. Earlier, another witness told CNN that shortly before the ferry hit the pier, many people were standing, anticipating the moment they could walk off the boat.

[Update 10:34 a.m. ET] Here's details about the ferry and the route: It's the Seastreak ferry, and it was the 8 a.m. boat from Highlands, New Jersey. It crashed at New York City's Pier 11 near Wall Street, where it was due at 8:45 a.m. It generally carries about 400 passengers.

[Update 10:28 a.m. ET] We now have a direct quote from the witness we mentioned below, plus her name:

"There was a large jolt," passenger Elizabeth Banta said. "It felt like we were in a car crash. ... Several people were thrown into the air and onto the ground."

[Update 10:27 a.m. ET] One person is in critical condition and being treated at a nearby hospital, police spokeswoman Sophia Tassie said.

[Update 10:22 a.m. ET] Overhead video of the scene shows firefighters taking people off the ferry in stretchers. The firefighters also appear to be taking a few people around in wheelchairs.

A passenger told CNN that people were standing, waiting to leave the ferry, when the ferry ran into the dock hard. The standing passengers were thrown into the air and slammed into the floor, she said.

The ferry was taking passengers fro New Jersey to New York's Pier 11 near Wall Street when the crash happened shortly before 9 a.m. ET.

[Update 10:07 a.m. ET] More than 50 hurt in ferry accident at lower Manhattan pier, New York fire department now says.

[Initial post, 9:54 a.m. ET] More than a dozen people were hurt when a ferry struck a pier in lower Manhattan, according to a New York fire department spokesman.

The accident happened shortly before 9 a.m. This is a developing story; we'll add more details as we get them.

soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. the prophet

    Please no one died, its not a big deal !!

    January 9, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • dazzle ©

      @the prophet, I agree with you. These ferries are very old but as far as I know, they've been well-maintained.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jane F

    In light of the slew of recent public transit incidents in New York City and State, two thrown under trains, and this ferry incident it would appear that Cuomo and Bloomberg should spend some time addressing real public safety issues instead of promoting their personal or political agendas.

    I suppose it is much easier to entertain "hot topic" issues as opposed to rolling up one's sleeves and doing some work.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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