John Bacon and Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY
NEW YORK - A ferry slammed into a barge as it was pulling into a Lower Manhattan dock Wednesday, injuring about 50 people, authorities said.
Officer Sophia Tassy, a spokeswoman for the NYPD, said the SeaStreak ferry, a commuter run from New Jersey to lower Manhattan along the East River, crashed into a pier structure during a hard landing around 8:43 a.m.
One person was taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in critical condition, said Tassy.
The ferry, which left Highlands, N.J. at 8 a.m., had a hard landing when it struck a loading barge that it was passing while trying to dock, SeaStreak President James Barker told New York's WNBC-TV.
"There was a jolt when that occurred, throwing the people forward into their seats and the walls," Barker told the station.
"We just tumbled on top of each other. I got thrown into everybody else. ... People were hysterical, crying," Ellen Foran, 57, of Neptune City, N.J., told the Associated Press.
Some patients were carried out strapped to stretchers, their heads and necks immobilized. About a dozen passengers on stretchers were spread out on the dock, surrounded by emergency workers, AP reports.
Passenger Frank McLaughlin, 46, told AP he was thrown forward and wrenched his knee in the impact. He said some other passengers were bloodied when they banged into walls and toppled to the floor.
Dee Wertz, who was on shore, waiting for the ferry, saw the impact.
"It was coming in a little wobbly," she said. "It hit the right side of the boat on the dock hard, like a bomb."
The waterside area in downtown Manhattan was filled with police, firefighters, transportation workers and media. News helicopters fly noisily overhead.
The SeaStreak ferry service offers high-speed catamaran services to points in Manhattan from Central New Jersey with a fleet of five ferries, the company says on its website. Four of the ferries have capacities of up to 400 passengers and one with capacity of up to 149 passengers.
The ferry is considered high-end. It has a bar on board and costs a bit more than most ferries.