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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ferry crashes into West Seattle dock, sustaining heavy damage

The ferry Cathlamet crashed into the dock at Fauntleroy in West Seattle in July, sustaining heavy damage.  (Washington State Ferries)
By David Kroman Seattle Times

A ferry crashed into the dock at Fauntleroy in West Seattle on Thursday morning, sustaining heavy damage.

Washington State Ferries tweeted that no injuries have been reported. Fauntleroy service has been suspended. The terminal is closed.

The left top part of the Cathlamet was crumpled. The boat was docked and by 9 a.m., the last vehicles had been brought off the boat. A few drivers lined up on Fauntleroy Way, but ferry staff and law enforcement waved most people past.

A spokesperson for the agency was making his way to the scene after 9 a.m. No information from WSF about how the crash occurred has been released.

West Seattle resident Jack Walsh said he heard the crash around 8 a.m., describing it as a “combination of a small explosion and screeching” that lasted about five seconds.

Anne Gfeller Higuera was on the boat, leaving from Vashon. Her car was parked on the upper deck, about four back from the front. As the ferry pulled into the Fauntleroy dock, she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. But then she heard an “enormous noise” in front of her that kept getting worse.

“There was a lot of concrete dust,” she said. When she looked up, she saw the side of the boat had been crushed and several cars in front of her sustained heavy damage. One was spilling what she believes was radiator fluid.

The crews went around to check on each passenger, asking if they were okay. Eventually, the cars offloaded into Fauntleroy by reversing off.

Vashon resident Oskar Weiss, 17, was commuting to work on the ferry when “out of nowhere there was just a huge boom,” he said. His entire car shook and felt like it slid on the car deck’s surface. “I thought that we were going to go on the shore because it seemed like we weren’t slowing down.”

Ferries leaving Fauntleroy travel to Vashon Island and Southworth, near Port Orchard on the Kitsap peninsula. The Cathlamet ferry that crashed was the scheduled 7:55 a.m. leaving Vashon Island, heading east. It’s a 32-foot boat that was originally built in 1981 and was rebuilt in 1993. It can hold 124 cars and up to 1,200 passengers.