A Wall Street trader and father of two was the most severely injured passenger in a Seastreak ferry’s terrifying crash into a lower Manhattan dock.
“He’s in bad shape over there, but he’s getting better,” said Donald Urbanowicz, whose son, John, 39, remained in critical condition from Wednesday’s collision, which sent him and others flying across the deck.
“A ventilator’s on him. From what had happened until now, he hasn’t been awake. He’s been knocked out and he’s still knocked out,” said Donald of his son, who’s at New York Hospital with a head injury. “They did a couple of surgeries on him.”
Donald told The Post, “The response team was fantastic. They got him to the hospital fairly quick.”
He was one of 93 people hurt when the 141-foot Seastreak Wall Street slammed into the dock at Pier 11 at the South Street Seaport at 8:41 a.m.
Federal investigators said the vessel, whose trip had originated at Highlands, NJ, crashed seconds after veteran Seastreak Capt. Jason “Jay” Reimer was unable to put the boat into reverse for docking.
“The captain reported that the vessel would not respond to his reverse-thrust commands as anticipated,” said National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt.
“He described this as happening very fast and somewhere during the sequence he reported that both diesel engines shut off.”
Sumwalt described Reimer and the first mate as “shaken and very concerned about the accident.” Sumwalt added, “They’ve been very forthright and cooperative with our investigators.”
Authorities believe that John Urbanowicz either was tossed down a staircase on the catamaran or into a glass door by the crash, which occurred with 326 passengers aboard.
Red Bank neighbor Theresa Yurik, 27, called sports-fan Urbanowicz “very outgoing, a great dad” to his two kids, Stella and Charlie, with whom he lives with wife Janet.
“Very active with the kids. Very helpful. When he comes home, it doesn’t matter when, he’s with the children. He does a lot around the house,” Yurik said.
“It’s unfortunate that this happened to him. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I hope he’s OK.”
Sumwalt, of the NTSB, said investigators will travel today to New Jersey to test the control systems of the damaged ferry and to question other crew members.
He said investigators want to know whether any crew members had reported problems with the Seastreak Wall Street after it was overhauled last summer, when its water-jet propulsion system was replaced by a propeller propulsion system to save fuel.
Source: NY Post