Saturday, May 8, 2010

Curse of the Barberi

So this morning, around 10:30 to be exact, I was driving home from the gym listening to Z100 when all of a sudden there was an announcement, "Breaking news! The Staten Island Ferry has crashed! More details after this song."

.....(gasp) WHAT?!?!?!?!?! was my initial reaction to the news. I was in a state of shock for two reasons: 1. The ferry had crashed into the dock of the Staten Island Terminal and 2. I would have to wait until AFTER a song to play to get any information.
Once I got home, I turned on the television and watched the drama unfold on NY1. Just in case you we not aware of the crash, here's the 411:
  • At approximately 9:25am, the Andrew J. Barberi ferry boat crashed into the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.
  • Interestingly enough, this is the same boat that crashed in 2003 that killed 11 passengers when the pilot, suffering from extreme fatigue and on painkillers, passed out at the wheel and the boat hit the terminal in St. George at full speed.
  • Multiple blasts on the ship's whistle were used to warn the passengers of an emergency. The "Red!" heard by passengers was a signal to the crew from the captain of an imminent emergency situation.
  • Janette Sadick-Khan, Transportation Commissioner, said the crash was due to a “mechanical error”.
    -The ferry's throttle failed to engage as it prepared to dock which meant that the crew was unable to use the engines to apply reverse thrust and slow down. Instead, the boat sped up as it crashed into the dock.
  • Captain James DeSimone, the ferry's chief operating officer, said it was unlikely that the mechanical failure had anything to do with damage suffered by the vessel in the 2003 accident and that it had passed all the required inspections so that it could be placed back in service.
  • Out of the 252 passengers and 18 crew members on board, a total of 37 passengers were injured: 17 with serious injuries and 20 with minor injuries.
  • The Andrew J. Barberi vessel will be taken out of service and resigned.
The first thing that went through my head when I heard the news was : "I hope no one I know was on this ferry". As a native Staten Islander, it is second nature to use the ferry as a means of transportation to get into Manhattan. When I was a freshman in high school, I knew several people who were killed on 9/11. This incident had that same impact in the sense of wondering if there was anyone I knew effected by this devastation. Luckily, there was no one I knew on the ferry at that time. Please continue to pray for those effected by the crash.