New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says at least ten commuters are dead after a New York City ferry crashed into its terminal as it was docking Wednesday. About three dozen people people were injured in the accident.
The ferry rammed into the dock on Staten Island after crossing New York Harbor from Manhattan.
The accident created a giant gash in the right side of the ferry.
Dozens of rescue workers rushed to the scene and entered the boat, ripped apart at its side. The damaged vessel was covered with shredded wood from the dock, torn metal girders and debris from the ferry. In the rubble, rescue workers searched for trapped victims, some of whom were badly injured and were reported to have lost limbs in the accident.
An eyewitnesses describes panic on board the ferry as it slammed into the pier at a 45-degree angle. "I'm looking and it's about to hit that pier," he said. "It is going straight for it, and it is not reversing the engines, and you can see the wake on boat, it is not slowing down. It is going full speed ahead, and it hit the corner of that pier right there and that corner took out the entire bottom deck."
Federal officials are investigating the crash. Some witnesses have said the ferry seemed to be moving faster than usual. The accident occurred on a day of high winds in New York City. At the scene, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to speculate on the cause of the crash. He said investigators are looking into the possibility that the disaster was weather-related.
"It is a terrible tragedy," he said. "People who were on their way home, all of a sudden were taken from us. Our prayers are for their families and for those who were injured."
Mr. Bloomberg says officials estimate that the boat was carrying about 1,500 people. About 70,000 commuters ride the ferry per day for the 25-minute trip between Staten Island and lower Manhattan.