Ferry crashes into pier in NY

2010-05-08 18:23

New York - A Staten Island Ferry crashed into a pier at the dock in New York, injuring dozens of passengers, officials said.

Weather conditions were favourable at the time of the crash and human or mechanical error appeared to be the culprit behind the rough docking at the popular tourist attraction.

New York Fire Department spokesperson Frank Dwyer told AFP that there were 18 serious injuries and 20 minor injuries, noting that about 100 firefighters were involved in the rescue operation.

The accident took place at 13:25 GMT on a ferry carrying 252 passengers.

"The ferry collided with the pier while attempting to approach" the St George terminal, a police spokesperson told AFP.

Coast Guard spokesperson Charles Rowe told The New York Times that the crash took place after an apparent malfunction of the ferry's engines.

"As the ship was preparing to dock in Staten Island in St George, there was a steering failure and the ship collided with the dock," he said.

Emergency crews and ambulances crowded the terminal building as injured passengers were placed on stretchers.

Local media said the ferry that crashed was the Andrew J Barberi, the same vessel involved in a 2003 accident that left 11 people dead after the pilot passed out because he was taking pain medication.

Ferries connecting the southern tip of Manhattan to Staten Island transport some 20 million people a year.