A Staten Island ferry carrying 750 rush-hour commuters abruptly lost power and slammed into a dock at the St. George Terminal last night, leaving 15 people with minor injuries, authorities said.
Crew aboard the vessel Sen. John J. Marchi blasted a horn and warned passengers to sit down before the collision, which occurred at about 7:09 p.m. in the Staten Island terminal.
"A crew member came on the PA system about 25 seconds before impact and said, 'Passengers, hold on! Passengers, hold on!' " said Daniel Kusrow, who was aboard the boat.
"It was clear something was going to happen. I had a knot in my stomach."
"There was a big crash . . . The boat was shaking. It was very scary," said Kohinoor Rahman, 32, a clerk in the boat's snack bar. "Everybody was running."
"I saw a cop bleeding from the head," Rahman said. "I saw two or three people lying on the floor."
Nallah Nagan, a 52-year-old who operates a snack bar in the terminal, said, "There was a 'Bang! Bang! Bang!' and everybody [outside the terminal] ran inside."
A law-enforcement source said, "The boat came in kind of hard when it was docking" in slip number 5, where it hit the terminal's lower bridge platform and upper pedestrian walkways. There was minor damage to the terminal structure.
The passengers were evacuated after the crash from the 310-foot-long vessel, which can carry up to 4,400 people.
The injured included 10 passengers, three crew members and two NYPD officers assigned to the boat, said FDNY Deputy Chief James Leonard.
The most serious injury was a dislocated elbow. Other victims mainly suffered back and neck pain.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Ferry service was not interrupted by the crash, which occurred about 25 minutes after the Marchi had departed Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan.
The St. George terminal was the site of a horrific accident on Oct. 15, 2003, when the Andrew J. Barberi ferry smashed at full speed into a maintenance pier after Assistant Captain Richard Smith, who was at the helm, blacked out. Smith had been taking painkillers.
Eleven people were killed and scores more injured in that crash. The Barberi had been carrying about 1,500 passengers.
The accident led to a slew of passenger lawsuits against the city, which to date has paid out nearly $83 million to settle more than 130 claims.
Additional reporting by Katherine Romero