(This was our Sunday coverage of the incident, from first report through evening updates – The Water Taxi *will* run a normal schedule, with an Argosy boat, Monday, says the county)
(Top photo courtesy Roy, who was on the Water Taxi when it hit, added 12:27 pm; below photo, WSB cameraphone, added 11:56 am)
ORIGINAL 11:29 AM REPORT: From the scanner, and we are en route – the medic call to Alaskan Way involves the Water Taxi from West Seattle
colliding with crashing into its downtown dock. Minor injuries are reported. We’re on the way to find out more. No word yet how this will affect service.
11:35 AM UPDATE: From Amy, in comments:
My husband is on the water taxi that crashed with our two young sons. Apparently the boat crashed into the dock on the Seattle side. He has heard reports of someone with a bloody nose and can see a broken window, but otherwise it didn’t sound too bad. He said they are telling everyone to stay seated while they decide how to get everyone off the boat.
According to the scanner, seven people are believed to be hurt, and one may have been briefly knocked unconscious, but is conscious now. Also from the scanner (we are almost to the scene), rescuers are using the fireboat Leschi to help get people off the boat. Nearby Fire Station 5 (on the waterfront between Colman Dock and Ivar’s) is being used as a base of operations to stage medics.
11:57 AM UPDATE: We are downtown finding out more about what’s happened. Four ambulances are at Fire Station 5 awaiting the patients, who will be brought over from the dock. We’re adding photos.
12:03 PM UPDATE: Note that traffic on Alaskan Way is being affected – as is obviously the Water Taxi schedule – we are working to reach King County DOT to find out about their plans. At least 5 are confirmed hurt – 4 being put on stretchers at the scene, 1 who is “walking” – the 4 will be taken to the hospital by ambulance. Police and Coast Guard, meantime, are assisting on the water:
We have just spoken at the scene with a passenger named Mike from West Seattle who says they got warning at the last moment – the captain said, everybody hold on, we’re going to hit – but they were not traveling at excessive speed, in Mike’s opinion.
12:29 PM UPDATE: Five patients are going to the hospital – from the scanner description, one is more seriously hurt than the other four. We have just added a photo atop this story from Roy, who was on board when it happened (husband of Amy, who has reported twice now in comments). Christopher Boffoli has joined Patrick Sand at the scene for WSB coverage; Christopher stopped by the West Seattle dock on the way here and says people there hadn’t yet gotten news about what had happened and were wondering where the boat was.
12:38 PM UPDATE: The Rachel Marie is the boat that hit the dock – recently there was a substitution for maintenance, but we have confirmed this. The other boat that serves Water Taxi runs, usually to Vashon, Melissa Ann, will be summoned into service later today, says Linda Thielke of King County Department of Transportation, but West Seattle Water Taxi service is suspended until then (no estimated time yet).
1:06 PM UPDATE: From “E” in comments:
We were on the boat too! I luckily had just strapped our 11 week old baby in the bjorn. My husband was helping with our 3-year-old son in the stroller. They took a pretty good hit. Sad for my son because he’s still a little traumatized!!! We are at Seahawk game now and he’s doing a little better. Hopefully one day he’ll remember how fun it was to get rescued by the police boat!!
Meantime, Amy’s husband Roy, who shared the top photo, checked in:
He reports, “We were cruising into the dock. I had noticed the boat went past where it normally stops, then I heard them say something like ‘Jones to the Control Room’ and then ‘everyone please brace for impact, we have an emergency’ and boom, we crashed into the dock. It felt like being hit while in a moving car.” He held onto the kids and they were ok, although a seat came loose from the base of the floor. He observed one end of the pier now sticking through the window of the water taxi, where thankfully no one was sitting. He said, “I’ll put it this way: I’m glad we weren’t going any faster.”
Just got an update at the scene from Seattle Police Det. Jeff Kappel of the Media Unit, who will be briefing us and others shortly – he says seven people went to the hospital, all with “non-life-threatening” injuries. (Update – USCG did the briefing instead – photo below:)
1:39 PM UPDATE: Briefing from Coast Guard: Mechanical failure is suspected. They say no one went into the water. (added later – video of the briefing in its entirety)
Meantime, King County DOT says water-taxi service has resumed – the Melissa Ann went toward West Seattle at 1:30 and should be back on the regular schedule.
2:09 PM UPDATE: Adding more photos – the ones we’ve had till now (except for Roy’s, atop the story) were from the WSB BlackBerry. Here’s a closer look at where the Rachel Marie hit the seawall – right where the ironwork at the historic Washington Street Landing is:
Here are Coast Guard boats getting the injured people to shore:
2:49 PM UPDATE: The damaged Rachel Marie has been pulled away from the seawall, Christopher reports. He says it’s now tied up to its dock at Pier 50, while Seattle Police photograph damage to the seawall. Christopher says the impact appears to have taken out at least one piling. We’ll be checking with King County DOT regarding both the Rachel Marie’s condition and how, if at all, tomorrow’s Water Taxi schedule will be affected, since the Melissa Ann serves Vashon Mondays-Fridays. Meantime, Jason Grotelueschen just sent this photo of the Melissa Ann just arriving at Seacrest, with passengers disembarking:
3:34 PM UPDATE: We just added our video of the full briefing by USCG Lt. Jon Lane, following the entry two hours ago in which we summarized it. He said 73 people were on the Rachel Marie when this happened, including the crew, and it was reported to have been going about 6 knots at the time.
ADDED 4:17 PM: Two photos from Christopher, showing damage to the Rachel Marie, including the broken window, from outside:
7:43 PM UPDATE: Water Taxi service will be normal tomorrow, according to the latest from King County:
Water taxi service between West Seattle and downtown Seattle will operate on a normal schedule Monday, Sept. 27 between Seacrest Dock and Pier 55, according to the King County Department of Transportation.
Service was briefly suspended Sunday when the vessel Rachel Marie struck a waterfront landing adjacent to its regular docking location along Alaskan Way in downtown Seattle. Preliminary reports point to a mechanical malfunction. The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating the incident.
While regular service will resume Monday morning with the 6:50 a.m. sailing using an Argosy Cruises vessel, passengers should visit the King County Marine Division’s website at
http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/WaterTaxi/WestSeattleRoute.aspx for updates and potential schedule adjustments.
Tonight we also have Christopher’s video of the Rachel Marie being pulled back from the collision scene:
ADDED 9:04 PM: West Seattleite Andrew Harms also was on board the Rachel Marie when it crashed into the seawall/historic pier and is sharing photos tonight – including one from the police boat that took him and more than 30 others to shore:
This is the piling mentioned earlier as having been taken out:
And from inside the Rachel Marie, seats tossed about:
We aren’t likely to get more details on the damage – to the seawall/pier as well as the Rachel Marie – till tomorrow.