Special Report with video and audio: Ferry strikes jetty in Hyannis Harbor injuring at least 9

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Hyannis Firefighters photo

Hyannis Firefighters photo

HYANNIS – The Steamship Authority’s high-speed ferry Iyanough returned to Hyannis docks Saturday morning, nearly 12 hours after it struck the breakwater in Hyannis Harbor late Friday night, prompting a large-scale operation to remove the 57 people stranded on board, including 15 who were taken to Cape Cod Hospital for evaluation.

None of the injuries were life-threatening.

During an early afternoon briefing on Saturday, SSA General Manager Wayne Lamson said the cause was still under investigation in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard.

He said their thoughts and prayers went out to the crew and passengers injured in the accident, and wished them a quick recovery. The incident happened shortly after 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Lamson said there was no environmental impact from the boat striking the jetty. Crews were making temporary fixes to the Iyanough so it could be moved to a shipyard for permanent repairs.

“The vessel will then go under its own power to Fairhaven for more permanent repairs. We’re not sure exactly how long that will take, it could be two weeks or more,” said Lamson.

In its place, Lamson said the SSA had contracted with the SeaStreak ferry line to use their vessel Wall Street, that was going to be used in a limited capacity on Saturday and Sunday on the Hyannis to Nantucket run.

During the week, the SeaStreak vessel Martha’s Vineyard Express will be used.

Lamson said the Iyanough was being operated by a veteran crew.

“The two officers on board the vessel have over 60 years of combined service with the Steamship Authority,” he said. Crew testing for alcohol came back negative and drug testing results were pending.

Rough seas hampered the rescue efforts Friday night and early Saturday morning, forcing the crew and passengers to stay on the crippled vessel for several hours while rescue teams devised an evacuation plan.

A Coast Guard helicopter responded to the scene to airlift the most seriously injured people to waiting ambulances at Barnstable Municipal Airport. A doctor on board the boat assisted with those who were injured.

Barnstable Police, Hyannis Fire and other local agencies were also on scene to assist with passenger evacuations.

Response boat crews from Coast Guard Stations Woods Hole, Chatham, and Brant Point transferred the remaining passengers and crew to safety.

During an early morning news briefing at the Steamship Authority’s terminal in Hyannis, Lamson said passenger safety was their utmost concern.

“Most important in attending to the passengers. There has been testing of the crew for alcohol and it all came back negative,” said Lamson.

Response boat crews from Coast Guard Stations Woods Hole, Chatham, and Brant Point were used in the operation. Multiple units from the Cape Cod Mutual Response System assisted with the rescue efforts.

“Rough seas and strong winds overnight challenged responders, but with the help of our local partners, our boat and aircrews were able to get all passengers to safety,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Baker, the chief of incident management at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.

He praised all the agencies involved in the last night rescue.

“The response to the grounding of the Iyanough was flawless. The local agencies did an outstanding job of coordinating amongst themselves as well as with the Coast Guard,” he said.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England were notified at about 10 p.m. that the Iyanough, which was heading from Nantucket to Hyannis, struck the jetty and grounded on the rocks.

Acting Hyannis Fire Chief Dean Melanson said they received a mayday call from the Iyanough and immediately mobilized a response team.

Mutual aid came in from surrounding towns’ rescue boats from as far away as Harwich.

“Crews talked with the captain and got an understanding of the situation that was ongoing. We immediately contact the Coast Guard and other municipal assets to assist,” said Melanson.

Passenger Kyle King speaks to reporters in Hyannis

Passenger Kyle King said he initially thought the boat hit another vessel. After several hours, he said rescue crews were able to get them off the ferry.

“They hooked up a ladder up to the side of the jetties, made us climb over and hop down and on to the Coast Guard boat,” he said.

Passenger Kane Barton said he heard a huge jolt when they stuck the rocks.

“And I flew forward and I looked up and everyone flew forward and I didn’t know what to do so all of sudden I started grabbing life vests,” Barton said.

The boat remained on the rocks into the early morning hours as the investigation continued. Lamson described the damage as “extensive” and said at least one of the hulls had been breached.

“I noticed people outside who fell over and injured their hand really bad. They were bleeding and there was just chaos at that point and then everyone started to calm down when they realized we were safely on the rocks,” said Barton.

Response boat crews from Coast Guard Stations Woods Hole, Chatham, and Brant Point launched to assist. An air crew from Air Station Cape Cod is en route. Local responders are also on scene.

All passengers and staff were off the boat by 3 a.m. Saturday.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

Passengers who have reservation for the fast ferry should contact the Steamship Authority at (508) 477-8600

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