Ferry boat veered off course before it hit sandbar

A NYC Ferry boat carrying more than 20 passengers had veered from its proper route before hitting the sandbar that left it stuck for hours, the boat’s operators admitted Thursday.

The 26 people on board, including four crew members, were forced to climb down a ladder in gusty winds and icy temperatures to board small pontoon boats Wednesday evening.

The ferry boat, named the Flyer, was bound for lower Manhattan when it left from the Rockaway peninsula in Queens at 5:15 p.m. It got stuck about 10 minutes into the trip, according to passengers, who waited more than four hours to be rescued.

Hornblower officials declined to say if a bumbling captain led the boat off route.

NYC Ferry boat with 24 passengers hits sandbar in Coney Island

“While preliminary information indicates the vessel was off route, that’s something investigators will look at during the investigation,” Hornblower senior vice president Cameron Clark said in a statement. “Safety is our number one priority, and we will continue to review our training programs in order to ensure rider and crew safety.”

On Thursday, Hornblower, which runs the city-sponsored route, vowed to reimburse the stranded passengers with a yearly NYC Ferry pass. Passengers will also get a dinner and movie package at iPic Theatre in the South Street Seaport as well as a $50 Uber credit.

Additionally, the three passengers who missed the Rangers hockey game will be reimbursed the value of their tickets and be given new ducats for an upcoming game.

NYPD and FDNY boats, along with the Coast Guard, responded to the stuck ferry, which will be towed back to the Rockaway Park dock on Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive, officials said.


“They did a great job trying to reimburse us for the inconvenience that we experienced yesterday,” said Jake Nicholson, 21, who was planning to go to the Rangers game Wednesday night with his brother, Noah Nicholson, 19, and his friend Anthony Scotto, 20.

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Jake Nicholson said NHL officials also reached out with three free tickets to the Winter Classic scheduled at Citi Field on New Year’s Day.

“I’m very thankful to the NHL,” he said. “They heard our story.”

The Wednesday night sandbar snafu was the second in two months for the NYC Ferry Service, which launched May 1. A Rockaway-bound boat got stuck on a sandbar made of construction debris 100 feet off of Pier 11 on Nov. 27.

The de Blasio has invested $335 million into added ferry service to ease congested subways and buses. The rides cost $2.75.  


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