Commuter ferry crash in New York injures 57, 2 critical …Choca ferry en NY; hay 57 heridos
A high-speed commuter ferry carrying hundreds of passengers crashed into a pier near Wall Street during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, injuring 57 people, two critically, authorities said.
Passengers who had boarded the 141-foot Seastreak Wall Street in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, and were queued up to disembark in New York, were thrown to its deck by the impact of the hard landing at 8:43 a.m.
«People who were standing up flew because of the impact,» said passenger Brett Cebulash, 50, an attorney who regularly rides the ferry that caters to white-collar employees with a monthly commuting cost of $655.
«It was a normal morning, we were rolling into the dock and then they hit something. There was a sudden impact,» he said.
The ferry, on its morning run from the high-end community on the Jersey Shore that is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, suffered a gash in its right front side. Firefighters and rescue workers rushed to the scene, as did Mayor Michael Bloomberg
The boat was traveling at between 10 to 12 knots, or about 11.5 to 14 miles per hour when it crashed into the pier, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said. That is roughly equivalent to the force of catching a 200-pound bag of cement dropped from a first-floor window, experts said.
The gruesome scene of passengers lying on stretchers at the pier recalled earlier landing crashes involving the Staten Island ferry, including one in October 2003, which killed 11 people and injured dozens more, and one in May 2010 that injured around 40 people.
The ferry pilot in the 2003 crash and his supervisor were sentenced to more than a year in prison each for their roles in the accident. The pilot, Richard Smith, had passed out at the helm. He had taken painkillers the night before for a bad back.
The crew of the Seastreak passed breathalyzer tests administered after Wednesday’s accident, police officials said.
Some of the injured were taken to the hospital, while others were treated at the scene, a spokesperson for the Fire Department of New York said.
Of the 57 people injured, two were in critical condition with head injuries, nine were serious, 17 were guarded, officials said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said an 11-member team was heading to New York to begin an investigation into the cause of the crash.
About 327 people were aboard the boat on Wednesday, said Tom Wynne, spokesman for Seastreak, which boasts on its website that its «fast passenger catamarans provide the fastest commute to New York City!»
The accident occurred as commuters lined up to quickly disembark the craft and start their workday.
«The ferry came into the dock hard,» Wynne said. «When the vessel hit the dock, the passengers obviously fell.»
He declined to name the ferry captain but said, «All of our captains have a great deal of experience.»
The ferry that crashed on Wednesday is run by Seastreak, a privately owned company that also holds the Interlake Steamship Company, Mormac Marine Group, Inc, and Moran Towing Co, the largest tug and barge operator on the East and Gulf Coasts, according to the company’s website.
Nueva York, Estados Unidos (9 enero 2013).- Al menos 57 personas resultaron heridas, una de ellas de gravedad, cuando un ferry chocó hoy en Nueva York contra un embarcadero en el Bajo Manhattan, dijo un portavoz del Departamento de Bomberos de la ciudad estadounidense.
Trabajadores de rescate y bomberos acudieron a la escena del accidente ocurrido en South Street Seaport cerca de las 8:43 horas locales, dijo una portavoz del departamento.
«Algunas personas salieron lanzadas hacia el aire y otras hacia el suelo», dijo a la cadena CNN la pasajera Elizabeth Banta. «Había gente en el piso que no se movía», agregó.
El ferry impactó contra el muelle por razones desconocidas, dijo un vocero de los guardacostas, Charles Rowe.
Algunos de los heridos fueron llevados a un hospital, mientras que otros estaban siendo tratados en el lugar.
Un portavoz de la Policía dijo que uno de los 57 heridos parecía estar en condición crítica.
Imágenes de televisión mostraron daños de uno de los lados en la parte de atrás del ferry, llamado Seastreak Wall Street, que había partido desde Atlantic Highlands, en Nueva Jersey.
Miles de personas utilizan a diario las decenas de ferries que navegan las aguas de los dos ríos que rodean Manhattan, el East River y el Hudson, para trasladarse a sus trabajos desde Brooklyn y Nueva Jersey.
En octubre del 2003, un ferry de Staten Island chocó contra un muelle de mantenimiento, en un hecho que dejó 11 personas muertas y decenas más heridas.
La misma embarcación, Andrew J. Barberi, estuvo involucrada en un segundo accidente en mayo del 2010 que dejó unos 40 heridos.