August 4, 2004

Guilty plea and indictments in Staten Island ferry case

New York local media report that Staten Island Ferry captain Michael Gansas and two ferry supervisors have been indicted by federal prosecutors in connection with the October 2003 Staten Island ferry tragedy involving the Andrew J. Barberi in which 11 lives were lost.

The indictments were unsealed by U.S. Attorney Roslyn Mauskopf today after the ferry's pilot, assistant captain Richard Smith, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of 11 counts of violating the Seaman's Manslaughter Act and one count of submitting a false medical report to the U.S. Coast Guard. His physican, Dr. William Tursi, has also been indicted for making a false statement on Smith's Coast Guard application form.

The charges against Gansas, 39, and port captain John Mauldin, 45, allege lying to crash investigators. Patrick Ryan, 52, who was the director of ferry operations,is charged with 11 counts under the Seaman's Manslaughter Act alleging failure to enforce safety rules, obstruction of justice and making a false statement.

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