Staten Island Ferry Crash Lawsuit to be Filed Over Back Injury

A passenger who was injured in the recent Staten Island Ferry crash is expected to file a personal injury lawsuit against New York City this week. 

Flabio Silva, a 40-year-old construction worker, is expected to allege that he suffered a back injury when the Andrew J. Barberi ferry slammed into the St. George Terminal on Saturday while trying to dock and will file a $5 million complaint, according to the New York Daily News. About three dozen passengers suffered injuries in the crash and the city is likely to face more Staten Island Ferry crash lawsuits in the near future.

The accident is currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which has performed drug and alcohol tests on the ferry’s crew, and has also reviewed video footage of the bridge before and during the accident. So far, tests for alcohol have been negative and the video footage appears to show the crew undistracted and performing the proper procedures. Investigators say that the crash may have been the result of mechanical failure.

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In Saturday’s accident, Captain Donald Russell, a five-year ferry veteran, was on his second full day as captain. The ferry was approaching the pier when Russell realized that he did not feel the usual vibrations indicating the boat was slowing down and ordered for the boat to be put in full reverse thrust. Russell then ordered five short horn blasts, warning the crew to brace passengers for impact.

Assistant captain Maqbool Ahmed was piloting the craft and appears to have properly used the controls to bring the boat to a stop, but nothing happened. Investigators said the boat was far enough from the pier that it should have stopped in time due to the crew’s actions, leading to the possibility of mechanical failure. The ship’s engineer said there were no engine warnings indicating a problem.

The NTSB is continuing to investigate all possibilities, officials said.

It is the second major Staten Island Ferry accident for the Andrew K. Barberi, which was involved in a 2003 crash that killed 11 people and injured a dozen more. That accident was caused by the pilot falling asleep at the wheel while on painkillers and suffering from fatigue. The boat slammed in to the terminal at full speed in that incident.

After the 2003 crash, the ship was repaired, refurbished and put back in service. Silva told New York City media sources that he would not have gotten on the ferry if he had known it was the same one that was involved in the 2003 crash, and said he believed it had been decommissioned after the accident.


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