Hudson River is in the limelight as five people have been reported with injuries after a ferry rammed through kayakers. The accident occurred when the captain failed to notice the kayaks colored yellow, red, orange and green until it was too late. In total, 11 people have been rescued from the site. The incident took place around 5:55 p.m. EDT, on Aug. 30, 2016, in the Hudson River near Pier 79 at 12th Avenue and 39th Street, which led to five injuries as the ferry hit the kayaks.
New York Waterway owns the ferry. The incident has brought into focus not only the Hudson River but also the repercussions of the times when recreation and commercial activities collide.
The kayak instructor suffered blood loss and the bone in his arm was visible, stated David Driscoll, Commanding Officer of New York Police Department (NYPD) Harbor Unit. Driscoll added that the teacher was exhibiting difficulty remaining conscious.
Another officer, Tommy Le of the Harbor Unit said he had to use a tourniquet to reduce the bleeding. “He was lying on top of the kayak. There was this pool of blood,” he says. The instructor suffered a partially severed arm with a compound fracture. He receiving treatment at Bellevue Hospital. In addition to the instructor, two men, and two women also sustained injuries, albeit minor. They have cuts to the head and injuries to their backs and shoulders. The injured kayakers were brought to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, the authorities stated.
In total, there were ten paddlers and one instructor in nine kayaks in waters of the Hudson River when the ferry struck. As per a police source, the captain was heading out of the terminal when he encountered bright conditions from the sun to the west. He could not have spotted the kayaks, the source suggested.
The ferry hit two kayaks directly in the Hudson River. The other kayaks overturned by the wake. The captain’s breathalyzer test was negative. Pat Smith, a spokesman for NY Waterway, says, “We’re cooperating fully with the United States Coast Guard and the New York Police Department in this investigation.”
Manhattan Kayak Company mentioned the incident on Facebook. The post thanked the U.S. Coast Guard, the NYPD, and the Hudson River Park for the rescue efforts. The company claims that this accident is in fact, the first significant incident in two decades of guiding trips in New York waters. Further, the post states that investigation is on.
“Waved his paddle in the air to get the captain’s attention,” says Eric Stiller, owner of the Manhattan Kayak Company, about the instructor. “It had to be horrifying to see that it was not being responded to,” Stiller exclaimed. Facebook post of the Manhattan Kayak company states that there were no fatalities even as the ferry raked through the kayaks on the Hudson River.
NYPD also took to social media to update the world about the situation. On August 30, the NYPD Twitter feed offered details about the rescue of the 10 kayakers. A combination of the harbor, scuba, and aviation teams is working at the incident site in Hudson River, stated one of the posts.
Mayor Noble of Kingston Against Building of Anchorage Sites in Hudson River
Attention from the Hudson River does not seem to shift. It is in the limelight for not just the accident but also for another controversial issue. There has come a proposal from the United States Coast Guard for building of sites for the anchoring of large commercial vessels.
The location of these anchorage sites would be on the Hudson River between Kingston and Yonkers. However, things have not been smooth for the proposal as Mayor Steve Noble and other Kingston leaders have launched a protest against the plan, citing safety and environmental issues. It is most likely that that the anchorage project will hit many roadblocks if it proceeds.
As for the Hudson River mishap, among the five kayaker’s who were injured, one has already been let off while the other three are in good health. The injured instructor of the Manhattan Kayak company is in “good spirits”, the company states on Facebook.
By Abdullah Sultan Usmani
Edited by Cathy Milne
The New York Times: 10 Kayakers Rescued From Hudson River After Collision With Ferry
Gothamist: 11 Kayakers Struck By Ferry In Hudson River
New York Post: Ferry boat plows through kayakers on Hudson River
Daily Freeman: Noble, Kingston lawmakers join opposition to Hudson River anchorage proposal
Facebook: Manhattan Kayak + SUP
Twitter: NYPD Special Ops
Image courtesy of Eric Chan’s Flickr Page – Creative Common License