2003 Staten Island Ferry Accident


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Jim Kalafus

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I see by tonights news that 14 people have been killed in a ferry accident in NYC. Apparently the Staten Island ferry collided with its pier.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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From MSNBC News:

quote:

NEW YORK, Oct. 15 – At least 10 people were killed and many more were seriously injured when a Staten Island ferry crashed into its pier in high winds Wednesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. One of the ferry’s captains jumped ship and tried to commit suicide, police told MSNBC.

For the rest of the story, go HERE

The local newsies where I lived reported that the captain jumped over the side, swam to shore, then slashed his wrists and shot himself with a pellet gun when he got home. The hell of it is that with the wind conditions being as bad as they were, there's a possibility that he may not even be at fault.
 
Mar 28, 2002
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Latest news is that Captain Richard Jeffery Smith has told investigators that he forgot to take his high blood pressure tablets and then passed out on the bridge.

Even at this early stage, there are similarities with the Titanic story. How passengers on upper decks weren't even aware that anything had happened until passengers came running up from below; some of the injured are at St Vincent's Hospital.

By the way, the ship, which can hold 1,500 (why does that figure ring a bell?), is called the Andrew J. Barberi, named after an NYC councillman.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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From Rueters:
quote:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The pilot of a ferry boat that crashed into a pier on New York's Staten Island, killing 10 people and injuring dozens, lost control of the vessel but investigators do not yet know why, officials said on Thursday.

This same story which can be accessed HERE indicates that the Captain who jumped overboard then tried suicide was the pilot.
 
May 8, 2001
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My prayers are with the family, the victims, and the Captain who are recovering from this event.

It was a peculiar sickening feeling to read this sad article. First by the accident that happened on the 15th, but unknowingly as I read on, the reporters called this captain's career uneventful, the name was announced as being Captain R.J. Smith, that he tried to commit suicide, and lastly that they took him to St Vincents hospital. In the picture that I saw, all I was able to make out was the name "New York". I have yet to find out of the ferry had a name....
Strange, sad mirror of the past.
 

Pat Winship

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The name of the boat is the Andrew J. Barberi. According to the reports in the New York Times and on local TV, there's some question as to the exact whereabouts of the Captain of the vessel at the time the pilot passed out. He seems not to have been in a position to take control immediately and steer out of danger.

Pat W.
 
A

Andrew Johnston

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then who committed suicide?

i thought the captain just fell ill and passed out...
 

Jim Kalafus

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The captain attempted suicide within a day of the accident. Subsequent to the last posting on this topic, one of the injured, a woman who was in a medically induced coma, died. I am now rather hazy on the details, but the pilot, who should have been on the bridge evidently wasn't and refused to testify for a long time. The story dropped from front pages news, and I left NY for the winter, but last I was aware they were trying to dismiss the pilot.
 

Erik Wood

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For those interested the NTSB published it's primary report on the accident. It is avialble for view at www.ntsb.gov. It is worth a read. It is very bland and doesn't say much...but it's a government paper imagine that.
 
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About all it speaks to as the primary cause was the "unexplained" incapacitation of the assistant captain. Why was the senior mate in the back of the pilothouse rading a newspaper? Seems that he should be paying attention to what's going on around him.
 

Erik Wood

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There is of course the odd situation where the actual master is also not present on the bridge. I am wondering if another report in a few years from now will not be published. I attempted to find something in the New York City Department of Transportation site but came up empty handed.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Odd to say the least. The master's presence isn't always needed, but in a harbour as busy as New York, I would think he would be keeping tabs on things and surely would be there for an event like docking. Lots of unanswered questions here.
 

Erik Wood

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This leads me to believe that the report published online was done to satisfy some and get them off the NTSB's back while the real investigation looms. Some old friends are closed lipped about it, I think some stiff recommendations are coming down to the USCG and New York City Department of Transportation.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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www.titanicology.com
A few interesting similarities but also differences here to events on the night of Apr 14th 1912. Titanic entering a known region of reported ice. The Captain not on the bridge at the time of the accident. The 4th officer coming out of his quarters in one version of his story, or better yet, in his quarters drinking a cup of tea as he said in a radio broadcast in 1962. In either case, of no help to the 1st officer in charge. The 6th officer who also could offer no help looking out for ice because he was stationed in a relatively warm and cozy enclosed wheelhouse making sure the QM was keeping to the course. And given the time between the lookout warning and time it took for reported action to take place, the ship still managed to collide with an iceberg despite an attentive 1st officer out on the bridge wing.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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From Newsday.com:

City, ferry crash survivors fight over photos
quote:

The city and survivors of the fatal October 2003 Staten Island ferry crash are battling over how to handle graphic crime photographs taken by the New York Police Department immediately after the wreck, which took 11 lives.

Both sides say that about 50 of the pictures are so "graphic and sensitive" that they want to prevent access by the news media and public, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
For the rest, go to http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-nyferr195467768nov19,0,1256845.story
 
Jul 9, 2000
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From The American Shipper:

New York loses bid to limit liability in ferry crash
quote:

A federal court on Thursday rejected an attempt by the City of New York to limit its liability in the 2003 accident that killed 11 people and injured 75 when an out-of-control Staten Island Ferry crashed into a pier at full speed.
The city had sought to limit liability to $14.4 million, the value of the ferry.
More at http://www.americanshipper.com/SNW_story.asp?news=89360

Comment: The game goes on.
 
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