A Staten Island Ferry crashed at around 9:30 this morning, injuring 37 people.
Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan spoke about the crash at a press conference, and emphasized the differences between this crash and 2003 Staten Island Ferry crash that killed 11 commuters:
“I want to distinguish between the 2003 incident — where it was not a mechanical failure,” Ms. Sadik-Khan said. “This is a very different situation.”
She said the ferry was approaching the dock at normal speed, 5 knots (or 5.8 m.p.h.), when the pilots realized that they could not operate the ferry as usual. Ms. Sadik-Khan added that they had enough time for crew to warn passengers and begin moving people away from what would have been the chief point of impact — the front deck. Ramps were lowered by the crew to lessen the impact, she said.
The crash is likely a case of mechanical failure, and authorities say pilots had difficulty “pulling back the throttle” as the ferry approached the St. George terminal. 252 passengers and 18 crew members were onboard the vessel at the time of the impact, and 17 were transported to hospitals for treatment. One passenger was reported to be in “serious condition” and experiencing “chest pains.”
The vessel involved in today’s crash was the Andrew J. Barberi, the same ferry involved in the fatal 2003 mishap that killed 11 and and injured many more. The city was found to be at fault in that incident because crew failed to have two captains present in the pilot house. The Andrew J. Barberi cost $9m to repair and was put back into service in 2004.