| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 10 Investigators searching for the
cause of a ferry accident Wednesday morning near Wall Street
that injured dozens of people will reportedly look into possible
mechanical failure, which was blamed for one of the boat's past
The National Transportation Safety Board inspectors were in
Highlands, New Jersey, on Thursday where the Seastreak Wall
Street was towed to its usual berth following Wednesday's
morning rush-hour crash, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Jetta
The high-speed commuter ferry was carrying more than 300
passengers from New Jersey when it crashed into a pier during a
docking approach injuring 57 people, one critically, authorities
"It's a pretty good sized hole," Disco said of the gash torn
into the 141-foot ferry, which was traveling at between 10 and
12 knots, or about 11.5 to 14 miles per hour, when it crashed
into the pier.
The five-member, all male crew of the Seastreak will undergo
drug tests after having passed breathalyzer tests administered
following the accident, Disco 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 a crash in May 2010 that
injured about 40 people.
The ferry pilot in the 2003 crash and his supervisor were
each sentenced to more than a year in prison 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.
Among the possible causes under scrutiny in Wednesday's
crash is mechanical failure, after the boat struck a buoy about
100 feet from the dock before making the hard landing, according
to local media reports.
Seastreak Wall Street had at least two previous docking
accidents in 2009 and 2010, including one blamed on mechanical
failure, according to a Coast Guard website.
The accident occurred as commuters lined up to quickly
disembark the craft and head to work. Many were thrown to its
deck by the impact of the hard landing.
The ferry is run by Seastreak, a company owned by the Barker
and Tregurtha families, who also own 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.