Many Passengers in Ferry Mishap Now Released from Hospitals

An injured passenger is transported from Pier 11 where the ferry he was riding crashed into the pier. Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

At least one passenger remained in critical condition on Thursday afternoon, the day after a commuter ferry rammed into Pier 11 near Wall Street, injuring dozens of people.

Emergency personnel transported 55 passengers to local hospitals after the crash. As of 1 p.m. on Thursday, all 24 passengers sent to New York Downtown Hospital had been treated and released. One passenger remained in critical condition at New York Presbyterian. There was no update on the additional 11 passengers taken to that hospital. At least six other patients had been treated and released from other area hospitals as of Thursday afternoon.

The accident occurred around 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday.

"Everyone went flying everywhere," said Bill McKenzie, an uninjured passenger from Rumson, NJ, who was resting on the pier following the accident.  The boat went “from however fast it was going to zero," he said.

The SeaStreak Ferry departed from Highlands, NJ, at 8 a.m., with 326 passengers on board, including five crew members, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said. The boat appeared to have missed its slip, and then hit another slip.

“Basically it was a hard landing,” Sadik-Khan said.

According to DOT estimates, the boat was traveling at 10-12 knots, or nautical miles per hour at the time of the crash. Officials could not say if that was the typical speed for the vessel when landing.

“We were just kind of coasting into the dock, and it just didn’t seem like they had reverse thrusters,”  said passenger Brett Cebulash, who was boarding a FDNY bus to have his knee examined at a hospital in Brooklyn. According to Cebulash, it seemed that the thrusters “didn’t do what they normally do, and you know it was just a big, sudden shock.”

A large gouge was apparent on the right side of the catamaran, where it struck the slip.

Roy Marceau, a passenger whose forehead was cut when he was thrown into the seat in front of him on the upper deck, said many of those seriously injured had crashed into glass doors in the back of the boat, shattering the glass. "A lot of people flew four or five or six feet," he said.

One of the passengers in critical condition fell down the stairs, the FDNY confirmed.

"It was shock at first and then there were a lot of people in the aisles, people looking around helping folks who were injured," said Marceau, who added that there was more "pandemonium" downstairs.

According to Cebulash, EMS were quick to respond, but appeared to run out of stretchers for the injured.

“They just kind of triaged people laying on their back,” Cebulash said. “They weren’t able to roll them off right away. I guess they didn’t have enough of those kinds of stretchers.”

EMS workers continued to wheel passengers off in stretchers and wheelchairs for close to two hours after the accident occurred. Passengers who could walk, like Cebulash, boarded a FDNY bus for examinations at Brooklyn hospitals.

An investigation into the accident is being conducted by the NYPD, along with the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board.