Ferry in Brooklyn Runs Aground, Injuring a Crew Member


One crew member was injured and more than 100 passengers were evacuated after a ferry ran aground near the shoreline of Bushwick Inlet Park in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon, police and fire officials said.

Reports began surfacing around 4:15 p.m. that the boat had run into trouble near the park in the Williamsburg neighborhood and was taking on water, the police said.

The crew member was not critically injured, Michael F. Gala Jr., the Fire Department’s deputy assistant chief of fire operations, said at a news briefing on Saturday.

The crash occurred after the boat experienced a mechanical problem that led it to lose power and its ability to steer properly, the ferry company, Seastreak, said in a statement on its website.

Thomas Wynne, a spokesman for Seastreak, said in an interview on Saturday that the warnings had come about 45 to 60 seconds before the boat ran aground, adding that the company was still investigating the event.

The crash on Saturday was less severe than another Seastreak crash in 2013. Several dozen passengers on a commuter ferry were injured when the vessel struck two slips at Pier 11, at South Street and Gouverneur Lane.

George Weinmann, the vice president of the Greenpoint Monitor Museum, a nonprofit organization devoted to the site where the USS Monitor, an ironclad launched during the Civil War, was built, said he was at the site for an event of the Harbor School in which students tend oysters that are used to filter the water.

He said he saw the ferry going by and it turned into the inlet “and as it was coming in, it was coming pretty fast.”

“He turned there and then the stern of the boat actually swirled around to the side and took all the pilings that are in the center of the inlet right out, knocked them out where the oysters and everything are, or were, I should say.”

He said the ferry started to list to the side and take on water. “If he hadn’t turned, he would have come up right on the shore,” Mr. Weinmann said.

Ian Christner of the Bronx was traveling with his wife and two children. He said that as the ferry had passed beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, shortly after stopping at the Battery Maritime Building on the southern tip of Manhattan, it began to drift to the Brooklyn side.

Crew members instructed the passengers to be seated, Mr. Christner said, and soon after he could feel the ferry running aground.

Another passenger, Kimberly Shiller, said she first noticed that something was amiss when the ferry passed by Greenpoint, her place of residence.

“I was asking myself, ‘Why are we so close?’” she said. “This is not where we’re supposed to be. This is strange.”

Then, a voice over the loudspeaker told everyone to stay calm. Once, twice, three times.

“By the second time, I knew something was wrong,” Ms. Shiller said. “I could hear and feel the bottom of the boat scraping the bottom.”

The passengers, who were given life jackets as a precaution, were asked to remain seated, until the ferry began to tip and take on water, at which point they were asked to move to one side to counteract the tip.

“I was pretty calm since my friend was panicking, but I started to panic once the boat started taking on water,” she said. “And it was so hot. I felt overwhelmed being around a crowded group of strangers after Covid, but I think everyone handled it in the best way possible.”

Becca Foley, Kristen Bayrakdarian and Ian Trontz contributed reporting.



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