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Staten Island Ferry Crashes Into Dock; 36 Injured

May 8 (Bloomberg) -- A “mechanical” problem sent a ferry headed toward Staten Island this morning crashing into a dock, injuring 36 people on board, a New York City commissioner said.

The accident happened about 9:25 a.m. local time, said Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the city’s Transportation Department. Of those injured, 36 were sent to hospitals, mostly with minor injuries. One passenger had chest pains, Sadik-Khan said.

The ferry was the Andrew J. Barberi, which was involved in a fatal accident in October 2003 that killed 11 people.

Sadik-Khan said the vessel appeared to lose propulsion control before the accident, on approach to the St. George Ferry Terminal. A warning whistle was sounded and passengers moved to avoid injuries, she said.

There were 252 people and a crew of 18 were on board.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard will review the accident, Sadik-Kahn said. The city will look at the ferry’s electrical system controlling the boat’s engines, she added.

The commissioner said the Barberi passed its annual Coast Guard inspection last July and a quarterly inspection last month.

In March 2005, a report blamed a Barberi pilot, Captain Michael Gansas, for failing to exercise “command responsibility” and cited that as a contributing cause of the 2003 crash.

There was a similar crash by another ferry last July during the evening rush hour, which injured 15 people, according to the Associated Press. That ferry, the John J. Marchi, lost power as it was docking, AP said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sylvia Wier at swier@bloomberg.net.

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