May 10, 2010 in Nation/World

NTSB: Ferry’s engine alarms silent

Verena Dobnik Associated Press
Associated Press photo

The Staten Island ferry docks in Manhattan on Sunday.
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – Engine conditions appeared normal and no engine alarms sounded before a Staten Island ferry approached its terminal and slammed into a pier, injuring dozens of people, federal investigators said Sunday.

A National Transportation Safety Board team said it determined that the ferry’s two forward engines facing the Staten Island dock stopped upon impact but the two rear engines were still operating.

The Andrew J. Barberi ferry was carrying 252 passengers and about 18 crew members when it crashed at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Saturday.

Based on an initial interview Sunday with the chief engineer, who was in the ferry’s engine control room, “there were no engine alarms prior to the accident,” NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said.

“All conditions concerning the engines were normal prior to the accident,” said Sumwalt, adding that there were also no previous problems with the propulsion system or electrical systems.

Alcohol tests, which were conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard, came back negative for all, and the drug tests were being evaluated, he said.

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