No engine alarms before NY ferry dock crash - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

No engine alarms before NY ferry dock crash

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The Staten Island ferry docks in Manhattan, New York, Sunday, May 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) The Staten Island ferry docks in Manhattan, New York, Sunday, May 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) — No engine alarms sounded on a Staten Island ferry that malfunctioned while approaching its terminal and slammed into a pier, injuring dozens of people, federal investigators said Sunday.

A National Transportation Safety Board team has interviewed the chief engineer and some crew members of the Andrew J. Barberi ferry, which was carrying 252 passengers and 18 crew members when it crashed at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Saturday. It also has met with the management of the Staten Island Ferry.

Alcohol and drug tests were conducted on the 17 crew members aboard the vessel at the time of the accident, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said at news conference on Staten Island on Sunday. The alcohol tests, which were conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard, came back negative for all, and the drug tests were being evaluated, he said.

"At this point in the investigation, we're not ruling anything out," said Sumwalt, part of a seven-member NTSB team. "Everything is on the table."

The NTSB team completed its first full day of work on the investigation Sunday. It will spend as much as a week collecting information and evidence surrounding the accident, which injured up to 37 people.

Based on an initial interview Sunday with the chief engineer who was in the ferry's engine control room, "there were no engine alarms prior to the accident," Sumwalt said.

"All conditions concerning the engines were normal prior to the accident," said Sumwalt, adding there also were no previous problems with the propulsion system or electrical systems.

After the NTSB team completes its work at the scene, it will return to Washington, D.C., where it will conduct a deeper analysis of the collected information to try to determine the cause of the accident. That could take from a year to a year and a half, Sumwalt said.

The NTSB, however, could issue urgent safety recommendations before that, he said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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