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Captain Faulted in NYC Ferry Accident

The captain of a New York City ferry was identified as being responsible for a 2013 crash while attempting to dock in lower Manhattan. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the accident, which caused personal injury to 70 out of the 331 passengers and crew aboard.

The NTSB reported that the captain was unaware that the propellers were in a forward position as the ferry approached the pier, causing the ferry to speed into the dock rather than slow down. The captain was also faulted for not responding quickly to the loss of propeller control.

However, the ferry captain was not the only cause of the crash identified by the NTSB. Additionally, the agency reported that the established safety procedures on the ferry were inadequate. The NTSB noted that some of the problems had been noted in investigations of previous crashes, but that the operator had not addressed the problems.

For example, many of the injured passengers were in stairwells, preparing to leave the ferry, when the boat crashed into the pier. Simply keeping people out of the stairs while the ferry was docking could have reduced the number of injured.

A spokesperson for the operator said that the ferry had begun to show passengers a pre-trip safety video. However, the ferry operator is waiting for the final NTSB report to make other improvements.

The NTSB has investigated three NYC ferry accidents in the past decade, according to an agency spokesperson.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Captain Blamed in New York City Ferry Accident," Apr. 8, 2014.

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