Thursday, July 03, 2008

Call the Coast Guard! Ferry Collides with Coast Guard Cutter

It could have been worse, but in general when you're taking the ferry to Block Island, you don't want to collide with a Coast Guard cutter, which is what happened yesterday. Here's what it was like:

Shortly before the collision, John Daveau said he heard the ferry sounding its horn and felt the ferry trying to slow. Then he saw the Coast Guard vessel cutting across the bow of the ferry. He said the ferry hit the cutter in the stern.

It was a bump “like hitting a dock,” said Daveau, who was sitting near the bow. “People started running for lifejackets. All the kids put on lifejackets.”

His wife, Michelle, said, “It took 20 years off my life.”

Brad Barco, 28, of West Greenwich, said he was riding on the top, outside level of the ferry close to the front with his girlfriend. He said the fog was thick and the ferry captain was blowing his horn every five minutes when they saw the Coast Guard cutter appear about 100 feet off the left of the ferry.

Barco said both ships tried to avoid an impact and were able to slow down quite a bit before they collided.

“I knew we weren’t going to be able to stop. I was like, ‘We’re going to hit this thing.’ And then it got closer, closer, closer. They started honking their horns back and forth. And before we knew it, we made impact,” he said.

John Austin, of Greenfield, Mass., was also aboard the ferry when it was hit, on the upper deck on the starboard side.

In a phone conversation with as he returned home on another ferry later yesterday, he said that the Coast Guard vessel “just appeared right out of the mist in front of us.”

“It took a few seconds for contact –– it was like everything was in slow motion,” he said, before the collision, which he described as “one glancing blow.” The ferry then glided to a stop.

The Providence Journal story is here. (You'll have to bear with me. It's summer and I'm as usual looking ahead to a couple of weeks on BI, so I'll be more inclinded to blog about things that will have very little interest to people interested in Long Island Sound.)



Blogger Nan Patience said...

That is just unBELIEVABLE!!

12:54 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

That's a little hard to understand, since the follows running the M/V Block Island and anyone in the Coast Guard should have known better. In addition, these kinds of boats have 12 and 24 mile radar, a master and mate on watch, and several radios including marine VHF. I guess accidents do happen - although in my experience, it was the Block Island Ferry usually rescuing somebody else, and never being hit.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Tom Andersen said...

The ferry also follows a regular route on a regular schedule. It shouldn't be too hard for the CG to figure out when it will be where.

I was thinking, btw, about how our 10-year-old son spends every minute on the BI ferry visiting every nook and vantage point, and how panic-stricken we would have been not knowing exactly where he was in a collision. He, of course, upon hearing of the collision, told me he wished he had been on board.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Ferry said...

I don't understand, how can such accidents happen. Really not digestible. So careless.

7:08 AM  

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