July 2, 2009
Injuries as Staten Island ferry slams into pier
At least 17 passengers were injured last night when a packed Staten Island ferry lost power as it was docking and slammed into a pier, at the Saint George's Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, N.Y.
Panic quickly spread among the passengers of the 2,700-ton John J. Marchi ferry when the captain announced over loudspeakers that the ship had no power, the New York Daily News reports witnesses as saying.
"He kept repeating, 'Passengers, hold on. Passengers, hold on,' " said rider Daniel Kusrow, according to the newspaper/
The Coast Guard responded to the incident, which it categorizes as an allision, sending rescue boats and an investigation team. Drug and alchohol tests were ordered for the crew of the Marchi.
The incident inevitably raises memories of the Andrew J. Barberi disaster of October 15, 2003. In that incident, 11 people were killed when the Barberi crashed into a concrete pier at the St. George terminal.
The Barberi disaster cost New York City huge amounts in payments to victims and led to major changes in the Staten Island Ferry management structure and practices.