Monday, May 08, 2006
The crash of a passenger ferry into a pier at bustling Fisherman's Wharf, injuring nine people, was probably caused by a broken water jet control, authorities said Sunday. Inspectors completed their initial examination of the Baylink ferry, which was carrying 142 passengers and had just backed out of Pier 41 for a run to Vallejo on Saturday when it struck the wooden pilings of a nearby pier. Investigators were awaiting the results of routine drug and alcohol tests on the captain and crew members, said Coast Guard Lt. John Fu. The captain was not cited by the Coast Guard, and it was unclear whether he was back at work Sunday.Preliminary tests indicated the crash was caused by a mechanical failure on one of the ferry's two water jet controls, which suck water in and push it out to power the vessel. The malfunction probably caused the captain to lose control, said Baylink spokeswoman Teresa Booth. Engineers repaired the equipment Sunday, and the ferry was moved and docked for more tests, Booth said. It could be back in service as early as this week. Carolyn Horgan, vice president of operations for the Blue and Gold Fleet, which operates Baylink, said the injured passengers suffered whiplash, bumps and bruises. They all were treated and released, she said.