A commuter ferry carrying 326 people crashed  while pulling into the docks at Lower Manhattan this morning, injuring at least  57 people.

The Seastreak Ferry made a ‘hard docking’ at  Pier 11 just before 9am after it missed one slip and hit another, throwing  dozens of people on board forward or to the floor.

Passengers describe mass chaos as people were  thrown six feet into the air, others were thrown down stairs, smashing into  windows and hundreds of bags and coats were strewn all over the upper and lower  levels.

Police and firefighters were on the scene and  dozens of people were taken away in stretchers to nearby hospitals with more  being treated at the scene.

Seven of the injuries were considered  serious, one critical and 25 victims are listed in stable condition. Officials  say 21 suffered minor injuries. A lot of others were being treated for shock.

The ferry line had a craft scheduled to  arrive at Pier 11, originating from Highlands, NJ. That commute is a $26 one-way  or $45 round-trip fare.

The nature of the injuries are said to be  mainly head and spinal injuries. Critical victims have been taken to Downtown  Hospital and Cornell Medical Center while others were taken to hospitals in  Brooklyn on an NYPD bus.

A 39-year-old is said to be currently  undergoing surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

The pier had been turned into a make-shift  triage as EMS workers tried to ascertain the extent of the injuries.

The Seastreak Wall Street Ferry is a popular  choice of transport for workers commuting from New Jersey to New  York.

The vessel left from Atlantic Highlands in  New Jersey at 8am and was making its first stop at Wall Street, Manhattan,  around 8.45am. It was due to continue on to East 35th Street.

Passengers recall that everything went from  normal to dark in an instant as the impact ripped the front of the vessel open.  Some people were thrown six feet into the air.

Passenger Ellen Foran,  57, of Neptune City,  New Jersey, said: ‘We were pulling into the dock. The boat  hit the dock. We  just tumbled on top of each other. I got thrown into  everybody else. People  were hysterical, crying.’

Brett Cibullash said: ‘A lot of people were  standing up and got thrown into each other when the boat hit something with a  bang.

‘Some people hit their heads off the glass  and were bleeding. Others had neck braces and oxygen masks. It was  chaos.

‘Everyone was trying to help each other,  especially those who were not injured.’

Another passenger said: ‘The boat hit the  dock like a bomb, people were bleeding all over the place. It was mass  chaos’

Seastreak President Jim  Barker explained what happened: ‘The  ferry struck a loading barge that it was passing when it was preparing to dock.  There was a jolt when this occurred.

‘It caused damage to the vessel and threw  people forward into the seats and the walls, causing a number of injuries. This  is something that has never happened before.’


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