Imagine hearing this over the PA ... BRACE FOR IMPACT, BRACE FOR IMPACT!
The news yesterday at the time indicated, as the following article doesn't, that the message came over the PA system, "BRACE FOR IMPACT, BRACE FOR IMPACT, SIT DOWN AND HANG ON, BRACE FOR IMPACT!!!"
How freakin' scary would THAT be??? Been there done that but without any warning. One of the cruise ships I used to work on side-swiped the pier when we were docking in West Palm Beach, ended up with a big hole in the side of the ship.
It truly is a miracle nobody was hurt, let alone killed yesterday.
Yesterday's news (radio & print - I didn't watch TV news) and interviews with witnesses (not on the ferry) made it seem much more dramatic. People in the marina were running for their lives.
Oh, and this happened at the beginning of the 2nd busiest long weekend of the year ...
I also heard yesterday that the problem wasn't with the steering, that it was something in the engine room, possibly a problem with the clutches.
Ferry smashes into marina
Captain's quick thinking limits damage
Chad Skelton and Doug Ward
CanWest News Service
July 1, 2005
CREDIT: Ward Perrin, CanWest News
Damaged and destroyed pleasure craft surround the Queen of Oak Bay after the ferry lost power and plowed into a marina next to the B.C. Ferries dock at Horseshoe Bay.
A dramatic accident at Horseshoe Bay Thursday in which a ferry apparently lost power and plowed into a marina could have been far worse had it not been for the quick thinking of the ferry's captain, according to a coast guard official.
"If he had slammed right into the big dock, there would have been an awful lot of damage," said Terry Tebb, assistant commissioner of the coast guard. "Obviously, he did some fancy manoeuvring to minimize the damage and that's how he ended up where he is now."
B.C. Ferries' 7,000-tonne Queen of Oak Bay collided with Sewell's Marina around 10:10 a.m. Thursday and ran aground -- destroying several pleasure boats, including about half a dozen that sank to the bottom of the bay, and stranding 544 passengers on board for more than six hours.
There were no injuries.
The cause of the collision is still under investigation by both Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board. But initial reports suggest the vessel lost engine power as it neared the terminal.
"Typically when they come in, they shift into reverse in order to slow down," said Tebb.
However, with the reverse thrusters disabled, said Tebb, the ferry was in danger of slamming into the terminal, with disastrous consequences for both passengers on board and those on shore.
"Obviously, they did an avoidance to not slam right into the dock," he said.
Witnesses said the ferry began sounding its horn repeatedly while it was still several hundred metres from the terminal -- leading many to believe at first that another boat was in its way.
"It was like somebody with a car horn just holding it down," said Sara Brocklehurst, who was getting an ice cream cone while she waited for the ferry.
After two or three minutes of sounding its horn, the ferry slowly crashed past the marina's breakwater and then into several rows of boats.
"Part of me was saying, 'He'll stop before the boats,"' said Brocklehurst. "But he actually came right into them and started crushing them like boxes."
While no one on the ferry was injured, its passengers were stranded for most of the day -- unable to leave the ferry while divers searched the waters below to ensure no one was trapped underneath.
Finally, around 5 p.m., the ferry was towed to its berth and passengers were allowed to depart. Operations at the terminal were expected to resume at 6 p.m. and B.C. Ferries added extra sailings on several routes to ease the congestion.
Susan Tapp of Courtenay said ferry officials gave passengers a five-minute warning to "sit down and brace ourselves and he (the captain) held that whistle down the whole time we were coming in." Tapp said she saw the ferry "take out" a few boats but "we didn't feel anything."
Bob Walker, who was waiting to board the ferry, said the vessel simply rolled over many of the large sailboats in its path.
"The masts just snapped over like twigs as it came in," he said.
Tracey Morettin, who was on the beach with her children, said passengers on the ferry's car decks appeared to realize something was wrong and were yelling at people in the marina to get out of the way.
The crash took place during one of the busiest weekends of the year for B.C. Ferries and resulted in the cancellation of several sailings out of Horseshoe Bay and congestion on other routes.
B.C. Ferries president David Hahn said the company will do its best to add extra sailings over the weekend to make up for having one of its vessels out of commission, but admitted things will be tough for travellers.
"This is obviously the worst possible timing," he said. "It's a day that will, quite frankly, ruin some people's weekends. I don't think there's any way around that."
Hahn said the Queen of Oak Bay will be placed in dry dock and inspected to try to determine what happened.
The ferry, which was built in 1981, was put back into service just 17 days ago after undergoing a $35-million refit of its lifesaving equipment, passenger accommodations and engine.
However, Hahn said Thursday there is no indication that the refit had anything to do with Thursday's collision.
"There was work done on a number of issues in the engine room but I can't correlate any of that to what happened today," he said.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005
Here you go, Stephen ....
Yesterday's article first, then today's ......
Tue. Jul. 5 2005 1:01 PM ET
The B.C. ferry lost power, smashed into a number of boats and ran aground at a marina while docking at Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.
Inspectors identify source of ferry power loss
CTV.ca News Staff
Transportation safety inspectors say they've figured out why a B.C. ferry lost power while docking in West Vancouver last week. But the public will have to wait for the explanation.
B.C. Ferries officials spent the weekend piecing together the chain of events and have come up with a theory about what went wrong. However, they won't release their conclusions until they can double-check their findings.
Technicians have said the Queen of Oak Bay suffered an engine failure as it approached the terminal.
Aloak Tewari of the Transportation Safety Board told CTV News over the weekend that the malfunction's cause was still unknown. He added that he didn't know why the second engine shut down as well.
Investigators say the clutch system did not engage the second engine, leaving both propellers useless.
A total of 22 boats were damaged or destroyed when the 140-metre-long ferry plowed through the Sewell Marina. The captain blasted the ferry's horn for almost three minutes, giving bystanders time to flee. No one was injured.
The ferry's captain is being hailed as a hero for steering the 7,000-tonne vessel away from a terminal crowded with people, trying instead to ground the ferry by going through the neighbouring marina.
The Coast Guard's Terry Tebb says many would have been killed if Captain Jarik Kosy had not acted quickly.
"That dock is incredibly solid, and if he had slammed into it, all of the people that had been standing there, guess where they'd have ended up," Tebb told reporters last week.
The Queen of Oak Bay, which travels from West Vancouver to Nanaimo, had just returned to service after undergoing a $35-million refit at Vancouver Shipyards when the problem occurred. It received upgrades of its interior, replacement of piping and cables and regular engine maintenance.
Updated Thu. Jul. 7 2005 11:53 PM ET
Missing cotter pin blamed for B.C. ferry accident
CTV.ca News Staff
A missing 3 cm cotter pin set off a chain of events that led to the grounding of a ferry at Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver last week.
BC Ferries says a control arm connecting the engine speed control device to the engine fuel rack disconnected when a nut came off the attachment bolt.
The nut came off because an inexpensive cotter pin that is normally in place to hold it in place was missing.
The disconnection of the bolt allowed the propulsion system to over-speed. Protective devices known as "over-speed trips" then engaged, and led to the shutdown of the propulsion system.
The ferry was unable to slow down and crashed into the Sewell Marina, crushing 24 smaller vessels.
BC Ferries official Mark Collins called it an anomaly, not a failure of the basic design.
The mechanism had been serviced by a private company during the ship's recent $35-million refit at Vancouver Shipyards. The ship received regular engine maintenance along with upgrades of its interior and replacement of piping and cables.
BC Ferries is not naming the contractor who performed the maintenance work.
Amazingly, no one was injured in last week's accident and the ferry, the Queen of Oak Bay, was only minimally damaged.
The vessel was repaired and has now been certified to resume service on its usual Nanaimo-to-Horseshoe Bay route, starting on Friday.
BC Ferries says that their other vessels have been checked for the same problem and have been cleared.
The ferry operator is now negotiating claims with the 24 owners of the destroyed or damaged boats. Tentative agreements have been reached with three of the owners.
BC Ferries president David Hahn, meanwhile, says the 544 passengers aboard the stricken ferry will be compensated with a gift certificate for their ordeal.