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I don't feel like cheering now(10 posts)

I don't feel like cheering nowLive Steam
Oct 17, 2003 10:46 AM
I am sure many of you have read about or have seen reports of the crash of the Staten Island Ferry on Wednesday afternoon. We received a phone call from a friend who is a physician that works in the local hospital's ER. He said it was a pretty awful and that a few people were dismembered. I knew it was bad from his description, but I just read a personal account of what happened. It was reported by someone that was sitting in the area most effected by the crash. I have to say it was rather graphic and horrific. To say his account was frightening, is an understatement.

I had for many years, as have most Islanders, taken that peaceful ride to work or to just visit Manhattan. It for the most part, is a nice way to get to work or to get into town for shopping or to visit a museum. You certainly get the best view of the Manhattan skyline and it's free to boot. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be sitting there in your usual spot - most riders tend to congregate in a location with other commuters they know in the same area of the boat that they always sit in - coming home from work or school, to have this catastrophic event come out of now where.

My heart and prayers go out to the families of those that were killed or injured. This event along with the tragedy of 9/11 has really changed many peoples perception of what that simple little ride on the Staten Island Ferry means to them. The Ferry was used as a means to transport supplies and manpower to lower Manhattan after 9/11. Many Islanders, though they would see it day after day, always marveled at the sight of the skyline from the front deck of the ferry. That has changed and so has thoughts of a peaceful ride home on the Staten Island Ferry.

Baseball is meaningless when compared to this!
understandableDougSloan
Oct 17, 2003 11:25 AM
You would think a ferry putting along would be about the safest form of travel know. What the heck happened here?

Doug
understandableLive Steam
Oct 17, 2003 11:34 AM
No one yet knows all the facts, but it appears that both the pilot and Captain were not doing their job well. The pilot claims to have high blood pressure and believes he passed out, though he has no medical records of it. The captain says he was on the bridge, but there are conflicting reports about that. The pilot fled the scene and attempted to commit suicide at home.

All I know is that even though they appear to be plodding along, ferry boats do move well in the water. They also have immense weight and momentum and take a lot of effort to slow and control. It was fiercely windy that day - 45 mph winds blowing across the harbor. This too may have contributed to the accident.
Ferry disastersmickey-mac
Oct 18, 2003 5:28 PM
Ferries would seem to be a safe mode of transportation, but we hear about a major ferry disaster with numerous deaths at least once a year. However, most of them seem to occur in impoverished countries where ferries are overloaded with passengers and freight. The SI ferry disaster is a real shock.
+ the ferry is THE mode for bike commuters from SIcmgauch
Oct 17, 2003 11:42 AM
They've had hard landings, and been sued for the resulting injuries before. There are SUPPOSED to be 2 captains in the pilothouse at all times to guard against this sort of thing (like a pilot/co-pilot arrangement). Among all of the obvious issues, why the 2nd didn't take the controls sooner is also under investigation.

I shot an email to a guy in my gym that bike commutes from SI with the help of the ferry to make sure he didn't take an early ferry & see if he was OK. His response is below:

"I'm on the 6:45 or later but I have been on the boat when it has rammed the dock before but nothing like yesterday. I'll be listening more closely to the engine noise for a while."

Scary how we all become hardened to the various risks we face everyday - whether it's going for a bike ride, driving to work, a mass transit commute - whatever. Make sure you hug your family every chance you get.
I wouldn't sit near the perimeter from now on nmDougSloan
Oct 17, 2003 11:54 AM
+ the ferry is THE mode for bike commuters from SILive Steam
Oct 17, 2003 11:56 AM
The ferry has definitely hit hard before. I have experienced it. People have been thrown to the ground, but nothing like what happened the other day. Glad to hear your friend wasn't effected. Fortunately I don't believe anyone I know was either.

The SI Ferry has a neat history. It also has some weird stuff associated with it. About 20 years ago a guy went nuts on board with a sword. He slashed quite a few people. After that episode, cops were mandatory on every crossing. The SI Ferry has been in many movies and was the focus of an I Love Lucy episode.

It was pretty much the only way to access SI for a good long time and was Staten Island's only connection to the rest of New York State, much less the remainder of the City, until the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge was completed in 1964. Hey riding it is probably still one of the best things to do when visiting NYC. You get a great view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty and it's FREE!
+ the ferry is THE mode for bike commuters from SILive Steam
Oct 17, 2003 12:12 PM
I did a little research to refresh my memory - the sword slasher actually killed two people.

I know what your friend is saying about the engines. It's funny, but you can almost be in a comatose sleep and wake because you somehow hear or perceive a change in the engines speed.

As for cyclists - lots of people use it to cross with their bikes. Quite a few people in our club commute to Manhattan on the boat with their bikes. Our club had an image of it on our jersey a few years back. We also volunteer each year to help escort people on to it for the MS 5 Boro Bike Tour. The start is in lower Manhattan and thousands from Brooklyn, Staten Island, NJ and elsewhere use it to get there.
standing up front on the ferrycmgauch
Oct 17, 2003 12:21 PM
The other dynamic you have at work here is that when the boat is nearing the dock, most people get up & crowd near the front so they can get off the boat ASAP. I'm sure that contributed to the amount & severity of the injuries. According to my gym buddy, this is still common practice for much of the ridership.

We who use mass transit often resemble rats in a maze. Dehumanizing at times, but it beats driving to NYC.

PS - Live Steam, thanks for the historical perspective, maybe I'll do the 5 Borough Bike Tour next year so I can experience it firsthand.
standing up front on the ferry - YupLive Steam
Oct 18, 2003 9:43 AM
we call it the "cattle walk" :O) People really look like cattle being herded of the boat when it docks. I never understood the desire to be in that shuffling effort to get ashore first. I usually sit and wait for things to clear a bit. Same on a plane. Why rush to the next place I'll have to be waiting like the baggage claim?