Staten Island ferry crashes while docking

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Shadow Bea

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Staten Island ferry crashes while docking


At least a dozen feared dead
By Michael Weissenstein
ASSOCIATED PRESS
2:40 p.m. October 15, 2003

NEW YORK – A Staten Island ferry slammed into a pier as it was docking Wednesday afternoon, tearing off passengers' limbs and sending people jumping for their lives from the shattered vessel. At least a dozen people were killed, officials told The Associated Press.

Commuters were trapped in piles of debris aboard the 22-year-old ferry, and victims screamed and dove for cover as metal crunched into wood along the Staten Island dock, across New York Harbor from lower Manhattan.

"Everyone just jumped for their lives," rider Bob Carroll told TV station NY1. "It was like an absolute horror. ... The whole side of the boat looked like an opener on a can."

A city official and a police source, both speaking on condition of anonymity, said 12 people were believed dead. Several others were reported hurt.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The accident occurred on a windswept day, with gusts in the mid-40 mph range.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate what went wrong.

The accident ended an otherwise routine trip to Staten Island from lower Manhattan, a crossing that usually takes 25 minutes. A free ride on the Staten Island Ferry is one of the city's most beloved attractions to New Yorkers and tourists alike, taking visitors past the Statue of Liberty and giving them a Hollywood-style view of lower Manhattan's skyscrapers.

The 310-foot vessel slammed into the huge wooden pilings on the side of a dock just before the start of the evening rush hour, said Fire Department spokesman Mike Loughran. The impact splintered wood and tore metal girders apart, ripping a huge hole in the side of the vessel.

Firefighters made their way through the smoking, damaged section of the ship, the Andrew J. Barberi, looking for the injured. Coast Guard divers went into the water in a search for any additional victims.

The ferry, which has three levels, has a capacity of 6,000. It was not immediately clear how many people were aboard at the time.

"There were numerous injuries like fractures and lacerations," said Fire Department spokeswoman Maria Lamberti. "There were a couple of people with amputations – legs and arms."

The five boats that make up the Staten Island Ferry fleet carry 70,000 commuters a day between Staten Island and lower Manhattan. The boats make 104 daily trips between the two boroughs. The Andrew J. Barberi has a speed of about 18 mph.

Service was suspended on all of the Staten Island ferries after the accident.

In 1997, a car plunged off the ferry as it was docking in Staten Island, causing minor injuries to the driver and a deckhand who was knocked overboard by the car.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was attending the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game with the American League pennant on the line, left Yankee Stadium to head to the scene.





On the Net:

Staten Island Ferry facts:www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/masstran/ferries/statfery.html{PI:EF}fact s
 

Shadow Bea

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This is the worst accident ever on the Staten Island ferry! Reported so far 14 deaths. It hits very close to home for me as I live only about 2 blocks from the ferry.. Many people I know take this boat to and from work in Manhattan. As far as I am able to ascertain none of my close friends or family were involved in this accident. I pray that it is so.
 
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Didn't you say you caught that ferry to work Bea, or used to?
 

Shadow Bea

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Yes I used to ..now I work on Staten Island .. My husband works in Manhattan.
 

angelize56

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How terrible Bea! :( I was just watching about it on the news. God bless all those involved! New York has had more than its fair share of tragedy. Take care. Marlene :(
 
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So bad to have that happen.

Hay Bea what does the Long Island Line cost?
I have a token for a free trip on it. It is old as it was one my mom got as a kid so I wonder is it is still good. :)
 

angelize56

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UPDATE: I saw on the news that one of the captains left the scene after the accident, went home, slit his wrists and is in critical conditon. :eek:
 

pyritechips

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UPDATE: I saw on the news that one of the captains left the scene after the accident, went home, slit his wrists and is in critical conditon.
Yes, I heard that on the news here Marlene. Poor bugger must have felt a tremendous amount of guilt. I hope he can clear his conscience and get back to a half-decent normal life :( .
 

angelize56

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Hi Jim: It also said he used a BB or pellet gun during the suicide attempt. I understand they are testing all the crew's blood for alcohol or drugs. But that is probably just routine. Seems the wind was the blame. Acts of nature can do lots of harm.
 

Shadow Bea

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Passengers and eyewitnesses described the horrific Staten Island ferry accident:

Frank Corchado was sleeping in the back of the ferry on his way home after his shift as a lift mechanic. The screaming woke him.


He saw dozens of people running and screaming as the ferry sped toward the pier and crashed into the dock, shattering glass windows and severing the limbs of several people.

"The scene was total chaos. You ever see a dead person all cut up? That really put the zap on me," Fox News reported Corchado, 29, as saying.

"There was a lady without legs, right in the middle of the boat. She was screaming."

Corchado said he tried to help as many people as possible get out.

Witnesses said some jumped into the choppy water and others ran as the pier chewed up the side of the boat.

"Most of the people who died were older people, I believe, who couldn't move or didn't have enough time to get out of the way," Corchado said.

Evan Robinson said he was waiting to board the ferry to Manhattan when he saw the vessel speeding up at a strange angle as it headed into the terminal.

"I thought maybe he was avoiding some other boat. I saw he was heading right to the pier," said Robinson. "I said, oh my God, he's going to crash into that pier."'

"It didn't even sound that loud when it hit. It was strange."

Corchado later went to hospital to check on a man he only knew as Paul, who he said he helped leave the boat.

"Paul was very bad, very bad," Corchado said. "Internal injuries, I believe. His leg was broken.

"There was another gentleman. By the time we got him out of the boat, he was dead."

Family members were waiting for word on their loved ones at two hospitals and at an American Red Cross family assistance centre in the area.

Gabriel Fequiere was looking for his 83-year-old mother.

She had been in Manhattan to do volunteer work as a caretaker and hadn't called, he said.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'm worried sick."

"The ferry was coming too fast," said witness William Gonzalez, who lives in a nearby flats.

"They had no control to stop the boat."

Commuter Bob Carroll said: "Everybody jumped for their lives. The whole side of the boat looked like a can opener had been taken to it.

"If I had been sitting on the right side of the boat, I'd have been dead. You could see some people were not going to make it."

Another passenger, retired police sergeant Paul Wiedemann, said: "I heard what sounded like an explosion and my first thought was that it was a bomb.

"The structure of the boat was ripped open about half or three-quarters of the way down. It seemed that the boat didn't slow down and then the lower side appeared to cave in."

"Everyone just jumped for their lives," Bob Carroll told TV station NY1.

"It was like an absolute horror... the whole side of the boat looked like an opener on a can."



 

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Shadow Bea

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NEW YORK Oct. 16 — Authorities were investigating whether a Staten Island ferry pilot lost consciousness during a routine trip across a windy New York Harbor before the mighty vessel slammed into a pier, killing 10 people and injuring at least 42 others, including three who lost limbs.
The pilot bolted the scene so quickly that he left behind his gear and his keys, then broke into his house where he slit his wrists and shot himself with a pellet gun, a law enforcement source told The Associated Press.
The pilot, identified by the source as Richard Smith, was in critical condition after surgery at St. Vincent's Hospital, a hospital spokesman said Wednesday night. It was the same hospital where 22 victims including at least one amputee were rushed after the 3:20 p.m. crash, the city's worst mass transit accident in at least a generation.


The boat hit a maintenance pier, hundreds of feet from the slips where the ferries normally dock. The ferry was immediately backed up and moved to one of the passenger slips, where rescue crews began their work.
"The scene was total chaos," said passenger Frank Corchado, 29, of Staten Island, recounting a tableau of horrific sights: a decapitated man, a legless woman, a fellow passenger bleeding from his eyes.
"There was a lady without legs, right in the middle of the boat," he said. "She was screaming. You ever see anything like that?"
The dead, one woman and nine men, ranged in age from 25 to 52, police said. The names of all but one were released early Thursday.
A co-worker of Smith told authorities the pilot had been asleep, slumped over the controls, the law enforcement source told the AP. He was being represented by an attorney, said police, who obtained a sample of his blood for testing. Telephone messages left at his home were not returned.
National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Ellen Engleman, asked at a Thursday morning news briefing about reports that the pilot had passed out or fallen asleep at the wheel, said the NTSB has "a lot of conflicting reports as far as that. We don't want to pass on stories or rumors."
She said the agency would be taking over the investigation, which could take up to a year to complete.
The ferry's crew was to be interviewed and tested for drugs and alcohol, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The crewmembers referred investigators to their union lawyers.
The 300-foot craft was carrying an estimated 1,500 people, 36 of whom were treated at the scene or were immediately taken to hospitals. Six others walked away injured and went to hospitals later.
Corchado said he tried to help as many people as possible get out. Witnesses said some jumped into the wind-swept 62-degree water and others ran as the pier chewed up the side of the boat.
"Most of the people who died were older people, I believe, who couldn't move or didn't have enough time to get out of the way," Corchado said.
The victims were seated in the window seats on the front right side of the Andrew J. Barberi ferry. Some of the injured were pulled from the rubble by rescue workers; one of the dead was found in the water off Staten Island.
Evan Robinson, a musician waiting for a ferry on Staten Island on Wednesday, said he watched as the craft suddenly veered crazily. Two other witnesses said the ferry appeared to speed up when it should have slowed down for docking.
"I looked on in disbelief," Robinson said. "I said, `Oh, my God, he's going to crash.'"
The cause of the crash officially remained unknown. The National Transportation Safety Board convened an accident investigation team to lead the onsite inquiry. The team was to examine weather, among other factors.
Winds were gusting up to 40 mph when the accident occurred.
"The ferry was coming too fast," said witness William Gonzalez, who lives in a nearby apartment complex. "They had no control to stop the boat."
Corchado said it felt as if the ferry accelerated as it approached land, waking him as he napped on the trip home. He ran away from the front of the boat to safety. "My soul's killing me a little bit," he said.
At Staten Island University Hospital, two victims with amputations were among those brought in from the ferry, said spokeswoman Arleen Ryback. Others were suffering from back and spinal injuries, one victim reported chest pains and one had hypothermia.
Ferry service was immediately shut down, forcing thousands of rush hour commuters to head for buses and taxis. Service resumed early Thursday with a boat departing from the St. George terminal just after 5 a.m.
One of those aboard the early morning boat, Greg Ellis, 48, said he was a little nervous.
"You're always thinking it could happen again if it happened one time," Ellis said.
Engleman said the NTSB would investigate human factors, engineering factors, deck operations and weather conditions in its probe. Winds were gusting up to 40 mph when the accident occurred.
The agency will also look into the records of the vessel's crew members and how they spent the previous 72 hours, Engleman said. She also said the boat, which had suffered "very dramatic" damage, was being secured and would be moved from the dock as soon as possible.
The tragedy occurred on a day when the city was focused on the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox playoff game. Bloomberg was at the game when he heard the news and rushed to Staten Island.
"People who were on the way home, all of a sudden, taken from us," said Bloomberg, who announced the deaths after touring the splintered wood, twisted steel and shattered glass aboard the ferry.
The ferry is among the city's most beloved institutions, providing free rides and offering a spectacular view of New York Harbor. It carries 70,000 commuters per day between Staten Island and lower Manhattan.
Associated Press Writers Tom Hays, Steve Strunsky, Michael Weissenstein and Larry Neumeister

 

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Shadow Bea

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Originally posted by hewee:
So bad to have that happen.

Hay Bea what does the Long Island Line cost?
I have a token for a free trip on it. It is old as it was one my mom got as a kid so I wonder is it is still good. :)
Hi Harry..
I hope you are well.
They don't use tokens anymore at all.. if I were you I'd hang on to that one..It may be a valuable collectable even now!
As far as I know they have not used tokens on that line for many years .. and when they did, the style of token has changed many times since then if your mother had it as a girl!
:) Bea
 

angelize56

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Bea: Thought you'd want to know of this update. :( How sad she fought for so long. :( Take care. Marlene :)

11th Victim Of Staten Island Ferry Crash Dies
Debra Castro Lost Leg, Part Of Other Leg In Oct. 15 Tragedy

POSTED: 4:12 p.m. EST December 16, 2003
UPDATED: 4:17 p.m. EST December 16, 2003

NEW YORK -- She'd survived for two months with massive injuries from the crash of a Staten Island ferry. But now, Debra Castro has become the 11th person to die as a result of the crash.

A spokeswoman at a Staten Island hospital said Castro died Tuesday morning. She'd been under heavy sedation since the Oct. 15 crash. :(

Castro was returning home from a doctor's appointment when the ferry slammed into a concrete pier after crossing the harbor from Manhattan.

In addition to the 11 who died, 60 others were hurt.

Castro's husband has sued the city for $220 million.

In a statement, Castro's husband described her as "a woman who loved life and fought a very hard battle to regain it."

Her injuries included the loss of one leg and part of the other.
 
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