Investigators looking into mechanical failure in Wall Street ferry crash
The captain of the high-speed ferry that slammed into a pier in lower Manhattan, injuring more than 80 passengers, told federal investigators Thursday that his attempts to slow the boat failed due to mechanical failure, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
Jason Reimer, 36, who has 17 years of experience working on ferries, including 12 as a captain, was at the controls of the Seastreak Wall Street during the Wednesday morning commute crash.
Reimer said he tried three times to slow the ferry by reversing its thrusters. The vessel's propulsion system had been retrofitted about a year ago, the NTSB said.
Reimer said both of the ferry's diesel engines stopped working at one point, but he still had the ability to steer, an NTSB board member, said Thursday.
"The captain reported that the vessel would not respond to his reverse thrust command as anticipated," Robert Sumwalt said.
Sumwalt gave a summary of the investigators' interview of Reimer, which occurred Thursday morning and lasted more than three hours: Reimer said he was rested when he reported to work at 5:30 a.m. at Atlantic Highlands, N.J., for a 6 a.m. trip to Pier 11, and then on to Pier 35 and back to New Jersey. The crash occurred at 8:41 a.m. on his second trip to Manhattan. "The event, according to him, happened so quickly he only had time to try to reverse the thrust," Sumwalt said. "We're working to refine the timeline of the sequence of events."
Two passengers were left in critical condition after the crash, and 11 people suffered serious injuries, according to the FDNY.