Ferry crash investigation; captain blames mechanical failure

Ferry crash investigation; captain blames mechanical failure

Posted: Updated:
U.S. Coast Guard photo U.S. Coast Guard photo

By COLLEEN LONG and TOM HAYS | AP

NEW YORK (AP) — The captain of a commuter ferry that crashed into a lower Manhattan wharf told federal investigators Thursday that the vessel had a mechanical failure and he was unable to put it in reverse when he tried to dock.

DID YOU WITNESS THE CRASH? EMAIL THE NTSB: WITNESS@NTSB.GOV

The 36-year-old captain of the Seastreak Wall Street was interviewed by National Transportation Safety Board investigators for three hours Thursday, one day after the vessel made a hard landing, hurling scores of people down stairs and into walls at the end of a routine run across New York Bay. Around 70 were hurt, 11 seriously.

The captain, Jason Reimer, and his crew "were shaken and very concerned about the accident," said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt. "They've been very forthright and cooperative."

Sumwalt said the captain told investigators that as the ferry approached the dock, he moved from a central console to one on the starboard, or right, side of the vessel, as was customary. When he tried to put the ferry in reverse, it didn't work, Sumwalt said. He quickly switched back to the center, but reverse didn't work there either, he reported. He also reported the engines later died.

At the time it smashed into the dock, the Seastreak Wall Street was going about 13 miles (21 kilometers) an hour, which is fast for the usual crawl into the slip, but not necessarily for turning into the area, experts said. After the impact, the boat was able to dock normally. Reimer said the steering mechanism was not an issue, according to the NTSB.

The ferry had recently undergone a major overhaul that gave it new engines and a new propulsion system, and officials are looking into whether they played a role. The vessel will be inspected out of the water.

The captain was "Seastreak's most experienced," Sumwalt said, with 17 years on ferries, 12 of them as captain.

DID YOU WITNESS THE CRASH? EMAIL THE NTSB: WITNESS@NTSB.GOV

  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Sunday, April 20 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-04-21 02:56:44 GMT
    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had over 300 jumps under his belt.
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had over 300 jumps under his belt.
  • Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.
    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.
  • Officer struck in hit and run fighting for his life

    Officer struck in hit and run fighting for his life

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:28 PM EDT2014-04-19 22:28:45 GMT
    Bergen County Police Officer Daniel Breslin is fighting for his life at New Jersey's Hackensack Hospital. Officials say Officer Breslin was hit from behind by another vehicle on Route 46 west in Lodi around 2am Saturday morning. Officer Breslin had stopped parallel to another officer's vehicle because that officer was having problems with his radio.Without warning, cops say a Ford Fusion then slammed into Officer Breslin's vehicle.
    Bergen County Police Officer Daniel Breslin is fighting for his life at New Jersey's Hackensack Hospital. Officials say Officer Breslin was hit from behind by another vehicle on Route 46 west in Lodi around 2am Saturday morning. Officer Breslin had stopped parallel to another officer's vehicle because that officer was having problems with his radio.Without warning, cops say a Ford Fusion then slammed into Officer Breslin's vehicle.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices