Officials had initially said the injuries were minor, but after patients were assessed, police said at least two were critical, one with a serious head injury. Five crew members were among those with minor injuries.
The Seastreak ferry, which left Highlands, N.J. at 8 a.m., had a hard landing at Pier 11, which is located at South Street and Gouverneur Lane. It struck a loading barge that it was passing while trying to dock, according to Seastreak President James Barker.
“There was a jolt when that occurred, throwing the people forward into their seats and the walls,” Barker told NBC 4 New York.
Chopper 4 footage showed a large gash at the front of the ferry.
Passenger Sean Boyle told NBC 4 New York that the ferry seemed to head “full speed right into the pier,” and said some riders were thrown down the stairs on the boat.
“Everybody got jolted right out of their seats,” he said.
Seastreak carries commuters from ports in New Jersey to Pier 11, East 35th Street and World Financial Center, according to its website. In its five-vessel fleet are four boats that can carry 400 passengers and one that can carry 149.
The Coast Guard said it was on scene and assisting in the investigation, which would include routine drug and alcohol tests of the ferry captain.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was launching a team to investigate.