January 9 (RIA Novosti) A commuter ferry in New York City crashed into a pier Wednesday morning, injuring more than 50 people, including two critically, local officials said.
The privately operated SeaStreak ferry, which departed from Highlands, New Jersey, was attempting to pull into Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan at around 8:40 a.m. (1340 GMT) when it struck the dock and jolted the nearly 400 commuters, local officials said.
“People were thrown into the air and onto the ground,” commuter Elizabeth Banta told CNN. “There were definitely many people on the ground who were not moving.”
Images and video after the crash showed passengers being taken from the scene on stretchers. Local officials said 57 people were injured in the crash, including two who suffered critical injuries to the head and nine who suffered serious injuries.
The injured commuters were taken to local hospitals for treatment.
Both New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly were at the scene of the accident Wednesday morning.
US Coast Guard investigators were at the scene as well, and the US National Transportation Safety Board was taking part in the investigation, officials said.
“Nothing seemed like it was going to be out of the ordinary,” passenger Chris Avore told WABC-TV. “There was once or twice where I was talking with a colleague where we actually thought it was coming in a little hot near Brooklyn, where we’re not used to seeing it. Then the next thing we knew, you feel the jolt and then everybody goes flying.”
There have been several ferry accidents in New York City over the past decade.
In October 2003, 11 people were killed and dozens injured after a boat from the borough of Staten Island crashed into a pier. The pilot of the boat and his supervisor were sentenced to more than a year in prison in connection with the tragedy, WABC reported.
The same ferry in the deadly 2003 crash was involved in a 2010 accident that injured some three dozen people.