A ferry accident at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan that sent 55 passengers to the hospital this morning still remains under investigation, and officials will speak with the boat's captain and crew tomorrow.
It happened around 8:45 a.m.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said the "Seastreak Wall Street" departed from its pier at Highlands, N.J. at 8 a.m.
The commissioner said the "hard landing" occurred as the double-deck vessel approached Slip D before heading into Slip B at roughly 10 to 12 knots.
The city said the ferry actually hit two slips.
Damage from the impact could be seen on the vessel's starboard side.
Officials say 326 passengers were on board at the time along with five crew members who were making their second trip of the day.
Fire officials say 55 people were hospitalized, including one who as of Wednesday night was in critical condition at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and another nine who are in serious condition.
More than a dozen passengers were taken off the ferry on backboards.
Weill Cornell accepted another 11 injured people and 24 of the injured were brought to New York Downtown Hospital, according to New York-Presbyterian Hospital officials.
Another 29 injured people were brought to Bellevue Hospital, according to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.
Witnesses say some of the passengers hit their heads after being jolted during the rush hour accident.
"Immediately on impact, people were just falling, falling on the floor and yelling," said Sheila Carson, one of the passengers. "There were people calling out their friends' names, trying to make sure everyone near them was OK and that they were OK."
Seastreak's president, Jim Barker, pledged full cooperation with National Transportation Safety Board investigators who dispatched a team to lead the search for answers.
Barker confirmed all crew members passed a breathalyzer test following the accident.
"It was not going full speed. The captain was on the bridge, we just don't know what happened," Barker added.
According to Seastreak's website, the 140-feet-long ferry has been in service since September 2003.
The U.S. Coast Guard and 11 officials from the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating both the ferry boat and pier.
The NTSB officials will split up the investigation into several parts, with some interviewing the crew and others inspecting the boat's propulsion and stirring and reviewing photographic evidence.
"This boat has a lot of sophisticated electronics, and even though those electronics may not be necessarily designed to capture information regarding the crash, sometimes there's bottles of memory that can be retrieved to help us figure out the speed of the allison and things of that sort," said NTSB official Robert Sumwalt.
According to the Associated Press, Coast Guard records show the "Seastreak Wall Street" hit a cluster of fender piles while docking in 2010 causing damage to its hull.
In 2009, records show it also suffered bow damage during a minor docking collision.
No injuries were reported in the past accidents.
Operations at Pier 11 resumed by noon, after the scene was cleared of injured passengers.
The commute Thursday should go as normally scheduled.
City Officials' First Press Conference On Ferry Crash
NY1: Commuter Ferry Crash Injures Dozens At Manhattan Pier
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City officials, including Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Police Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and Office of Emergency Management Salvatore Cassano, give initial details on the crash late Wednesday morning.
Statement from Seastreak Ferry Co.
We regret to report that the SeaStreak Wall Street struck Pier 11 near Wall Street while docking this morning at approximately 8:45 a.m.
The vessel’s crew immediately initiated emergency response procedures and authorities responded quickly due to the location. A number of passengers were injured. Some were treated by first responders and some have been taken to local hospitals.
Seastreak’s incident response team is on scene. Company management is working closely with emergency responders, including the New York Fire and Police departments to treat the injured and to respond to the situation.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those that were injured. Seastreak LLC will work closely with the Federal, State and local authorities to determine the cause of the accident.
Further information will be distributed as it becomes available.