Dozens hurt in New York ferry accident

NEW YORK (AFP) - About 50 people were injured when a rush-hour ferry packed with commuters smashed into a pier in New York City on Wednesday, firefighters said.

The accident took place at 8:45 am local time on Pier 11 in the East River in lower Manhattan, not far from Wall Street, the New York Fire Department said. The ferry was arriving from New Jersey.

"We are assessing 50 patients on the scene right now. We don't know what kind of injuries they have," an NYFD spokeswoman said.

Witnesses said the ferry was going too quickly when it approached the pier, perhaps resulting in the hard docking. A coast guard spokesman, Charles Rowe, said earlier that the cause of the accident was not yet known.

About 300 people were on board the vessel at the time of the accident.

Police and firefighters were on the scene and evacuating the injured on stretchers, television images showed. Other passengers were covered in blankets and awaiting assistance on the pier.

Television images showed a large gash in the hull of the vessel.

Dozens of ferries bring commuters from New Jersey or Brooklyn to Manhattan every day.