Statin Island ferry accident

I’m wondering about a few details in regards to this horrific accident.

I’ve ridden the ferry a million times, in fact I was on it last week.

How could the damage have been so extensive? The thing goes about 5 miles an hour.

How did the windows get ripped off? It crashed into piles, there is nothing protruding out to sheer the side off.

Why so many dismembered limbs?

Just wondering.

Here’s what I figure from what I read.

It goes far faster than 5mph…it just feels that way.

It hit the pier and snapped the wooden supports.

With the supports gone, it collapsed down and as the boat moved forward, the leaning pier was at the same level as the windows.

Flying wood, concrete, glass and metal.

That does make some sense.

Such a bizarre event.

Was it leaving Staten Island or approaching? I could see it having a good head of steam built up if it was approaching.

The figure I heard was that it moves about 15 mph - more than 5 but still not that fast. But remember, we’re talking about momentum here. The ferry is as tall as a three-story building and as large as a football field. The thing weighs over 2,000 tons and when that much mass hits at any speed, there’s going to be damage.

It was arriving at the ferry dock.

I heard on the radio this morning the Captain tried to commit suicide, and is in critical condition.

What a terrible thing to happen.

NYTimes has a map graphic of the area. It shows that it hit a pier in a completely different area then where it normally docks. Which seems fairly important to me: it wasn’t just coming in to the normal docking too fast, it was out of control.

According to the NY Post, the boat was going significantly faster than it normally does. That seems to be both the cause of the accident and the reason for the number and severity of casualties.

Here’s what the ferry pilot said:

http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/8239.htm

Here is a detailed account from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Northeast/10/16/ferry.accident/index.html

Details:

  1. The ferry was going much faster than it was supposed to, probably close to 20mph, before it crashed. Remember that these boats are very big and carry a significant amount of momentum.

  2. The windows that got ripped were all on the lower deck, which collided with the maintenence peer, which is a little south of the peer it’s supposed to dock at.

  3. I’m guessing lots of people got their limbs severed by falling debris. Many were sitting in seats right next to the windows that were destroyed; they probably got mangled by the peer itself.

The pilot at the helm tried to commit suiced. Not to be confused with the Captain.