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Ferry service run aground during trial run to JFK

A Seastreak ferry heading to the Brooklyn Army

A Seastreak ferry heading to the Brooklyn Army Terminal ran aground on May 28, 2014, in Jamaica Bay near the Cross Bay Boulevard toll bridge. A Coast Guard boat came to the rescue. Photo Credit: Uli Seit

A ferry on a trial run from Far Rockaway to Kennedy Airport ran around and got stuck Wednesday afternoon, trapping more than two dozen passengers on board, officials said.

The Seastreak ferry, which operates a city-subsidized post-Sandy route between the Rockaways and Manhattan, ran aground just after noon, according to the Coast Guard, which responded to the incident.

The ferry had 25 passengers, including a representative from the Queens borough president's office and several community leaders, as well as fourf crew members, authorities said. The ferry was going about 2 knots per hour when it grounded on a muddy floor sandbank near the eastern end of Jamaica Bay, according to a statement on Seastreak's website.

No injuries were reported, said an FDNY spokesman.

All passengers were off-loaded a couple of hours later onto an FDNY vessel. They were taken to the pier at Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park, according to the Coast Guard.

"We are sorry this happened and that our guests were inconvenienced," said Seastreak Spokesman Tom Wynne in a statement. "Thankfully, no one was injured. Our thanks goes out to the Fire Department of New York for transporting our passengers to shore."

The ferry has been operating from the Rockaways since Superstorm Sandy interrupted train service there. Earlier this month Mayor Bill de Blasio included $2 million in his executive budget to maintain the service through the summer.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has advocated for the ferry service, touting "dramatically reduced travel times" and the potential for economic growth.

"Today's incident does not take away from the fact that it is imperative that ferry service between Manhattan and the Rockaways be made permanent," she said in a statement. "Permanent ferry service would do more to promote economic development in the Rockaways than just about anything else that has been proposed in recent history."

In January 2013 another Seastreak ferry crashed into a lower Manhattan slip, injuring dozens of passengers who were thrown about as they readied to exit. The early morning boat, coming from New Jersey, had more than 300 passengers on board.


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