A commuter ferry carrying 326 people crashed while pulling into the docks at Lower Manhattan this morning, injuring at least 57 people.
The Seastreak Ferry made a ‘hard docking’ at Pier 11 just before 9am after it missed one slip and hit another, throwing dozens of people on board forward or to the floor.
Passengers describe mass chaos as people were thrown six feet into the air, others were thrown down stairs, smashing into windows and hundreds of bags and coats were strewn all over the upper and lower levels.
Police and firefighters were on the scene and dozens of people were taken away in stretchers to nearby hospitals with more being treated at the scene.
The ferry line had a craft scheduled to arrive at Pier 11, originating from Highlands, NJ. That commute is a $26 one-way or $45 round-trip fare.
The nature of the injuries are said to be mainly head and spinal injuries. Critical victims have been taken to Downtown Hospital and Cornell Medical Center while others were taken to hospitals in Brooklyn on an NYPD bus.
The pier had been turned into a make-shift triage as EMS workers tried to ascertain the extent of the injuries.
The Seastreak Wall Street Ferry is a popular choice of transport for workers commuting from New Jersey to New York.
The vessel left from Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey at 8am and was making its first stop at Wall Street, Manhattan, around 8.45am. It was due to continue on to East 35th Street.
Passengers recall that everything went from normal to dark in an instant as the impact ripped the front of the vessel open. Some people were thrown six feet into the air.
Passenger Ellen Foran, 57, of Neptune City, New Jersey, said: ‘We were pulling into the dock. The boat hit the dock. We just tumbled on top of each other. I got thrown into everybody else. People were hysterical, crying.’
Brett Cibullash said: ‘A lot of people were standing up and got thrown into each other when the boat hit something with a bang.
‘Everyone was trying to help each other, especially those who were not injured.’
Another passenger said: ‘The boat hit the dock like a bomb, people were bleeding all over the place. It was mass chaos’
Seastreak President Jim Barker explained what happened: ‘The ferry struck a loading barge that it was passing when it was preparing to dock. There was a jolt when this occurred.
‘It caused damage to the vessel and threw people forward into the seats and the walls, causing a number of injuries. This is something that has never happened before.’