In an accident that passengers likened to a car crash, a high speed ferry coming from Nantucket island into Hyannisport, Mass., struck a harbor breakwater Friday night, injuring at least 13, Coast Guard officials said.
The 154’x39’x5’ Iyanough was inbound around 9:30 p.m. when it went onto the jetty along the harbor channel, running hard aground on the rocks.
In a press conference early Saturday morning, the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson said there were 48 passengers and nine crewmembers on board. Coast Guard officials said 15 persons were airlifted by helicopter, including five injured, and others evacuated by boat.
Local emergency crews were on the scene along with Coast Guard units from Woods Hole, Brant Point and Chatham, and an HH-60 helicopter from the Cape Cod air station. Two 47’ motor lifeboats from the Brant Point and Chatham stations, along with a local towboat, evacuated passengers who could get across the rocks.
By 3:30 a.m. the Coast Guard reported all passengers had been evacuated, while crew members remained on board to maintain the ferry.
“Rough seas and strong winds overnight challenged responders, but with the help of our local partners, our boat and aircrews were able to get all passengers to safety,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Baker, the chief of incident management at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.
In the morning light six people, including the ferry’s captain, engineer, and Coast Guard marine inspectors were on aboard the Iyanough. With aid of a tugboat and a commercial towboat company the ferry was removed from the jetty, and returned to the Steamship Authority dock in Hyannis around 8:30 a.m.
Lamson said the damage would be assessed, and the Steamship Authority might have to lease another vessel to restore the Nantucket service. The agency said there would be no Saturday runs to or from the island and Hyannis.
The aluminum ferry was built in 2006 by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp., Somerset, Mass., on an Incat Crowther design. It carries up to 400 people on the 26-mile Nantucket route in about an hour, powered by four MTU 12V 4000 engines through HamiltonJet waterjets, with a total 9,400 hp and service speed of 35 knots.