New York Ferry Crash Leaves Dozens Injured

A commuter ferry has crashed into the dockside in Lower Manhattan, New York, during the morning rush hour, leaving a reported 57 people with injuries.

The Seastreak Ferry, which provides daily services from Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey, struck Pier 11 in the East River not far from Wall Street at about 8.45am ET (1.45pm GMT).

Officials say 11 people suffered serious injuries.

The vessel apparently had a hard landing as it was trying to dock. Images showed a corner of the ferry ripped open. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the crash. 

"There was a jolt when that occurred, throwing the people forward into their seats and the walls," Seastreak President James Barker told NBC 4 New York.

Passenger Ellen Foran said people tumbled on top of each other, hysterical and crying.

"All of a sudden, the boat felt like it smashed into a wall," Richard Correra told WCBS-TV.

"Dozens of passengers got thrown out of their seats, got thrown forward," he said.

"Some were heading downstairs and just flew down the stairs and hit their heads on various poles and walls."

A spokesman from the city's Office of Emergency Management said 326 passengers and crew were aboard the ferry. Many were taken off on backboards for medical evaluation, their heads and necks immobilised.

"People were milling about preparing to get off" when they were thrown from their feet, said OEM spokesman Chris Miller.

Television pictures showed more than a dozen people on stretchers spread across the dockside, surrounded by emergency workers and firefighters.

Dee Wertz saw the impact from the shore, where she was waiting for the ferry to arrive. She said she had been talking to a ferry employee about recent complaints about the boat's manoeuvrability.

"He was telling me that none of these guys like this boat," Ms Wertz said. 

In 2003, 11 people were killed when a Staten Island Ferry crashed into a city pier after its pilot passed out at the wheel.

Three people were badly hurt and about 40 injured when the same ferry hit the same pier in 2010 because of a mechanical problem.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday it had dispatched investigators to the scene from Washington.