QUEENS (PIX11) – Rescue crews had to be called after a Seastreak ferry on a private excursion ran aground in Jamaica Bay Wednesday, stranding passengers and crew.
Aboard the boat were 25 people — including journalists, business owners and local officials — on a test run to Far Rockaway and near JFK Airport when the vessel got stuck on an uncharted, muddy shoal, according to Tom Wynne, spokesman for Seastreak.
No injuries were been reported; FDNY and NYPD crews responded to help offload passengers to another vessel. They were taken to the ferry terminal at Beach 108 Street and Beach Channel Drive.
According to Seastreak, the muddy bottom did not damage the ferry, but the outgoing tide left it stranded. About 5 hours after becoming stuck, the rising tide lifted the boat and it moved on.
“I am told the boat encountered an uncharted shoal. We are sorry this happened and that our guests were inconvenienced. Thankfully, no one was injured. Our thanks goes out to the Fire Department of New York for transporting our passengers to shore,” said Wynne.
This is not the normal route for the Rockaway ferry and it was not affiliated with the ferry service. During its weekday rush hour service, it travels toward Brooklyn and makes stops at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, and then travels on to Wall Street and 34th Street in Manhattan.
The service started after Superstorm Sandy and has been extended by the current and previous administrations. It is planned to continue until October. The city is reviewing proposals for a permanent operator.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz says “Permanent ferry service would do more to promote economic development in the Rockaways than just about anything else that has been proposed in recent history. It is essential that the Rockaway ferry be made into a permanent mode of transportation.” A representative from the Borough President’s office was on board.