Seastreak Wall Street ferry crash hurts scores in New York

Regular passenger: 'Nothing like this ever happened'

A New York passenger ferry has hit a dock during the Manhattan rush hour, injuring scores of people and tearing a hole in the vessel's bow.

Eleven people have been seriously injured, the Associated Press reports.

The Seastreak Wall Street ferry hit the mooring as it docked about 08:45 (13:45 GMT) after a trip from New Jersey.

The boat, which was carrying about 340 passengers and five crew members, was able to dock and witnesses say people rushed to disembark.

Of about 70 people hurt, two were in a critical condition, New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told reporters.

'Like a bomb'

She said the boat had struck the dock at about 10-12 knots (11.5mph - 13.8mph; 18.5km/h - 22.2km/h).

The BBC's Barbara Plett says passengers had no warning ahead of the crash

Passengers who had been standing, waiting to disembark, were hurled to the deck or launched into walls as the Seastreak hit the dock.

"We just tumbled on top of each other," Ellen Foran of Neptune City, New Jersey told the AP news agency. "I got thrown into everybody else. People were hysterical, crying."

The most seriously injured passenger suffered a severe head wound by falling down a stairwell.

The BBC's Barbara Plett says Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan has not closed as a result of the collision, avoiding a major disruption to water traffic.

A woman who witnessed the crash from the dock told CBS News the 140ft (43m) vessel did not appear to have been coming in at high speed, but said "it was a very hard hit".

"It had pulled in - starting to pull in - and what it did was it hit the right side of the boat on the dock hard, like a bomb," Dee Wertz told the network.

Boat overhaul

In a statement, the ferry company said it would work with investigators to determine the cause of the accident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those that were injured," the firm said.

New York City firefighters walk the deck of the Seastreak Wall Street ferry in New York, 9 January 2013

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has visited the scene of the crash, along with senior police, fire and emergency management officials. Police said the boat's crew passed alcohol breath tests given after the crash.

The cause of the accident was under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The ferry, built in 2003, had recently undergone a major overhaul that gave it new engines and a new propulsion system, but officials said it was too soon to tell whether the upgrades had played any role in the crash.

Manhattan, an island, is served by several commuter ferry lines, the largest of which brings passengers from the Staten Island borough.

In 2003, 11 people were killed and dozens injured when a Staten Island ferry boat crashed into a pier on Staten Island, across New York Harbor from Manhattan. Dozens more were injured in a Staten Island ferry crash in 2010.

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