A ferry traveling from Nantucket to Hyannis struck a jetty Friday night, reportedly injuring at least 15 passengers. Dozens of other passengers had to be rescued and transported to other boats or a helicopter, according to press releases from the Steamship Authority and U.S. Coast Guard.
The fast ferry M/V Iyanough was on its last trip of the day with 48 passengers, six crew members and three food service workers when the incident happened at around 9:30 pm.
Strong winds and choppy seas are believed to have been complicating factors in the ferry’s grounding, according to the SSA. The Coast Guard is interviewing passengers and crew members to learn the exact cause of the crash. According to the Steamship Authority, the two crew members on board the Iyanough were “veteran mariners with more than 60 yers of experience between them.”
A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod rescued 10 people from the jetty, and five passengers were airlifted to the hospital, according to a press release. Response crews from Woods Hole, Chatham, and Brant Point responded to the ferry grounding, as did local first responders from Hyannis.
“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.
On Saturday, the M/V Iyanough was freed from the jetty and brought to the Hyannis dock. By the afternoon, it was headed to Fairhaven under its own power for repairs, which are expected to take at least two weeks. Despite the damage, there was no environmental impact due to the grounding.
Several trips were cancelled for Saturday. The SSA is accommodating passengers on its traditional ferries to and from Nantucket. Other ferries have been chartered to minimize schedule disruptions, according to the Steamship Authority.
“On behalf of the Steamship Authority, I thank the Coast Guard, all local first responders, and the crew of the helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod who assisted in the rescue and evacuation of passengers from the Iyanough,” Wayne Lamson, general manager of the Steamship Authority, said in a prepared statement. “Our concerns, first and foremost, are the safety and well-being of our passengers, and we deeply appreciate the efforts of all who guided them safely to shore.”
Passengers can check the status of ferries at 508-495-3278 or visit www.steamshipauthority.com.
Updated with Saturday’s developments and to link to Coast Guard video.