WOODS HOLE — Three passengers were injured after a ferry struck a passenger gangway and broke three windows while backing out the Woods Hole terminal Saturday night, according to Steamship Authority officials.
The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority ferry Martha’s Vineyard was pulling out of the Woods Hole terminal for its 7:30 p.m. run to Oak Bluffs, according to a statement from boat line. The vessel struck one of two manually operated passenger gangways, which was extended beyond the platform.
Three windows on the Martha’s Vineyard’s mezzanine deck were broken, making a sound that passenger Amanda Dickinson of West Tisbury likened to “the sound an ice machine makes.”
“It was this funky sound,” she said.
Dickinson was on the ship’s top level but went to the mezzanine after she heard the noise, where she saw several broken windows and glass all over the floor. She talked to a woman who said her husband had been struck by broken glass and heard of at least one other who was injured.
In all, three passengers were injured by broken glass but none required shore-side medical treatment, according to the Steamship Authority’s statement.
After stopping to assess the situation, the boat continued its run to Oak Bluffs and then made its last two scheduled runs for the night, according to the ferry line. But instead of staying in Vineyard Haven for the evening, it returned to Woods Hole without passengers or vehicles and berthed there overnight to allow the ferry line’s maintenance crew to cover the broken windows with plywood.
The 6 a.m. trip Sunday from Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole was canceled before the boat returned to service. The 5:30 a.m. departure from Vineyard Haven aboard the ferry Nantucket was delayed to accommodate the 6 a.m. reservations, according to the ferry line. Other customers with 6 a.m. reservations were accommodated on the 6:30 a.m. run aboard the Governor.
Steamship Authority General Manager Robert Davis said in an email that replacement glass will be fabricated and installed on the Martha’s Vineyard this week.
The gangways in Woods Hole were inspected and the damaged one has been repaired. Both are back in service, according to the statement.
The day after the incident, Steamship Authority officials did not know if the gangway did not retract due to a mechanical failure or user error.
The incident comes barely two weeks after the Iyanough, the Steamship Authority’s fast ferry, struck the Hyannis breakwater on June 16 while the vessel was making its last trip from Nantucket to Hyannis for the day. The vessel was carrying 48 passengers, six crew members and three food-service workers at the time of the incident; 15 people were taken to Cape Cod Hospital with various injuries.
Although the incident remains under investigation by the Coast Guard, the Steamship Authority last week released an update stating that the ferry’s captain, whom has not been named, mistook a metal pole and two moored sailboats as buoys leading into Hyannis Harbor and did not realize his mistake until moments before the vessel crashed into the Hyannisport breakwater.