(Photo by Erika Schultz / Seattle Times via AP)
SEATTLE – Authorities say an automobile and passenger ferry crashed into a pier in Seattle on Thursday, damaging the ship.
Washington State Ferries tweeted that no injuries were reported, but passengers said some vehicles were damaged. The state agency said the Cathlamet ferry, which was traveling from Vashon Island to a pier in the West Seattle neighborhood, suffered “significant damage.”
The Seattle Times reports that the upper left side of the ship was crumpled. The boat was moored and at 9am the last vehicles had been taken off the boat.
No information has been released on how the crash occurred.
Jack Walsh, a resident of West Seattle, said he heard the incident around 8 am, describing it as a “combination of a small explosion and a screech” that lasted about five seconds.
Anne Gfeller Higuera was on the ferry. Her car was parked on the upper deck. When the ferry arrived at Fauntleroy dock, she noticed nothing out of the ordinary. But then he told the paper he heard a “huge noise” in front of her that kept getting worse.
“There was a lot of concrete dust,” he said. When she looked up, she saw that the side of the boat had been crushed and several cars in front of her were badly damaged.
Oskar Weiss, 17, a resident of Vashon, told the Times he was commuting when “out of nowhere there was just a huge boom.” He said his car seemed to slide over the deck of the car. “I thought we were going to the shore because it seemed like we weren’t slowing down.”
US Coast Guard NCO Steve Strohmaier said Puget Sound Sector Agents were deployed to the scene shortly after being notified of the incident at around 8:20 am. They began to investigate the cause and whether it was a mechanical or human error.
Washington State Ferries operates a car and passenger ferry service in Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.
The ship involved in the accident, the Cathlamet, is 328 feet long and can carry up to 124 vehicles and 1,200 passengers.