Investigations begin after Toronto passenger ferry crashed at city’s terminal dock, injuring 17 people

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People disembark from a ferry at Wards Island on Toronto Island in Toronto on July 30, 2020.Cole Burston/The Globe and Mail

Toronto police and Transport Canada are investigating a passenger ferry crash at the city’s terminal dock over the weekend that injured 17 people.

The cause of the collision was still unknown as of Sunday. But the city announced that ferry service between its downtown terminal and the Toronto Islands, a popular tourist destination, would operate on a modified schedule for the rest of the summer.

“City staff will continue to work with Transport Canada, Toronto Police Services and the Harbor Master’s Office as the investigation continues,” the city’s parks, forestry and recreation division said in a statement. emailed to The Globe and Mail.

“The City’s top priority is to protect the safety of the public, passengers and staff by ensuring that our ferries meet Transport Canada’s safety standards and have the required certificates.

This certification includes Transport Canada’s annual safety and security certificate which was issued on June 21, 2022, and the engine and transmission inspection which was last issued on August 10, 2022, the statement added.

The collision happened just after 5 p.m. local time on Saturday when the ferry, named Sam McBride, hit the wharf as it approached the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal in the city’s downtown.

About 900 people were on board the ship. Seventeen were injured as a result of the collision, police said. Among them, 12 were treated and released on the spot. Five people, including two children, were taken to hospital for treatment.

“None of the injuries are considered life threatening,” Toronto Police Department spokesman David Hopkinson wrote in an email Sunday.

No one fell in the water as a result of the collision.

The Sam McBride ferry, meanwhile, was taken out of service after the incident.

“While in service, the Sam McBride had on board six personnel trained and qualified in accordance with Transport Canada requirements – a sea captain and mate in the wheelhouse, an engineer in the engine room and three ratings deck on deck,” the city statement added.

Transport Canada had no comment Sunday.

The city announced the Twitter that its passenger ferry service would operate on a reduced schedule, with only three ferries operating between the terminal and the Toronto Islands. Two of these boats are passenger-only vessels and one will carry both vehicles and passengers.

The city discourages unnecessary transport of vehicles by ferry and warns passengers to expect longer wait times – a potential boon for local water taxi services.

Pirate Taxi, for example, experienced an immediate spike in activity after the ferry accident and expects this recovery to continue over the coming weeks.

Peter Sutherland, a water taxi captain with Pirate Taxi, said his first thoughts after the crash were to check in on everyone on the ferry. But then he had to focus on an immediate 20% increase in passenger numbers as people looked for other ways to get back into town.

The company’s eight taxis were very busy throughout Saturday night and transported customers past 1am.

“We and the other taxi companies were already quite close to capacity,” said Mr Sutherland, who said Pirate Taxi was considering increasing its staff or opening hours in the wake of the crash.

“We expect to see more volume now, especially during the week.”

One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the Toronto Islands attract around 1.5 million people each year, while a typical summer day can attract up to 20,000 people, according to the website. from the city.

“We didn’t find that there had been a lot of disruption due to the reduction [ferry] schedule,” Lori Kirk, spokeswoman for Centerville amusement park on Center Island, said Sunday.

With reports from The Canadian Press

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