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Ferry Crash Investigators Find Damaged Propeller in Pier Wreck Probe

By Irene Plagianos | January 18, 2013 12:35pm

LOWER MANHATTAN —  Federal investigators discovered a damaged propeller on the left side of the commuter ferry that crashed into a lower Manhattan pier last week, injuring dozens, after conducting an underwater survey of the vessel, officials said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it has enlisted the help of the Army Corp of Engineers to examine the Seastreak’s approach to see if there were any underwater obstructions as the boat moved toward Pier 17 on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 9. A more complete hull survey will be conducted when the vessel is hauled from the water for repairs, according to the NTSB.

It was unclear whether the propeller was damaged before the wreck or as a result of it, officials added.

The boat was carrying more than 300 New Jersey commuters when it slammed into the dock at about 12 mph, leaving some 90 passengers injured, a few seriously.

The NTSB also said it is analyzing data recovered from the engines, as well as video from several onboard cameras.

The Seastreak had new engines and propellers installed last year. Officials said they are continuing to investigate whether any of these changes led to the crash.

Investigators have said some sort of mechanical failure led to the accident.

All crew members passed Breathalyzer tests with 0 percent blood alcohol content, and they are cooperating with the ongoing investigation, according to the NTSB.