Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dozens Hurt as Staten Island Ferry Hits Terminal

Hugh Collins

(May 8) – A Staten Island ferry boat crashed into the ferry terminal this morning, injuring dozens of people, New York police said.

The boat accelerated as it approached the terminal, then crashed, eyewitness Alex Gonzalez told CNN.

The accident occurred around 9:25 a.m., CNN reported. Authorities said 252 passengers and 18 crew members were on board.
Emergency personnel lift a person into an ambulance at the St.  George Ferry Terminal in the Staten Island borough of New York,  Saturday, May 8, 2010,
Robert Mecea, AP
Emergency personnel lift a person into an ambulance at the St. George Ferry Terminal in the Staten Island borough of New York, Saturday, after a ferry boat struck a pier.

"It was chaos, pandemonium," Gonzalez said. "There were a lot of people hurt."

Between three and five people were injured seriously, a Coast Guard spokesman told The New York Times.

The boat was the Andrew J. Barberi, the same boat that crashed in 2003, killing 11 people and injuring dozens, according to The New York Post.

The boat may have crashed because of an engine malfunction as it approached the terminal.

"From what I'm told, when it was put into reverse thrust, it didn't engage," Paul J. Browne, a New York Police Department spokesman told The Times. Eyewitnesses reported seeing flames rise and black smoke coming out of the back of the boat, according to CNN.

The boat crashed in 2003 after the pilot, Richard Smith, lost consciousness at the helm because he had been taking pain medication, The Post reported.

Smith fled the scene and later tried to commit suicide at his Staten Island home. He eventually pled guilty to 11 counts of seamen's manslaughter.

The Barberi was recommissioned at a cost of nearly $9 million and put back in service after the accident, The Times reported.

The Staten Island Ferry transports 60,000 people between Staten Island and Manhattan on weekdays.
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