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Investigation continues into ferry accident

Authorities are still investigating the causes of a ferry accident that occurred this week when a ferry coming from Highlands, New Jersey, crashed into the pier where is should have docked in lower Manhattan. 70 people were injured in the accident, and 11 people were described to have serious injuries.

The captain apparently told investigators that the controls didn’t respond when he attempted to put the ferry in reverse as he approached the pier. The controls may have jammed temporarily, which caused the boat to collide with the pier at about 13 miles per hour. The captain was eventually able to dock normally and the steering mechanism was apparently not the main problem that caused the accident.

The captain is apparently one of the company’s most experienced, with 12 years as a captain of this type of boat. Others in the same line of work have emphasized how difficult the job is, saying that the area where the accident occurred can be challenging to navigate.

The National Transportation Safety Board said that alcohol tests for the crew came back clean and that they are still awaiting results for drug tests.

The problem that caused the crash may have been with the boat itself, though. The ferry has been involved in accidents in the past and was recently serviced and fitted with new engines. If the company that owns and services the ferry did know about problems with the engines or a related system and that problem was one of the causes of the accident, then the company may be liable for the injuries suffered in the accident.

Source: New Jersey Star-Ledger, “Captain of ferry involved in NYC crash says controls, engines failed,” Jan. 11, 2013.

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