A PASSENGER on the Manly Fast Ferry which crashed into Manly Wharf claims it was going at full speed when it hit the wharf – and said passengers suffered more than just the ‘scrapes’ claimed by the company.
Tourism boss John Hartigan, who was travelling on the 12.10pm Ocean Wave service from Circular Quay to Manly said one man who was standing outside on the bow told him he was lucky not to have been thrown overboard, while he said another man looked like he had broken his elbow in the crash. he said passengers were thrown to the ground by the impact.
Manly Fast Ferries said six people had been treated for minor injuries, and said the master of the vessel will undergo drug and alcohol testing.
However, Mr. Hartigan, who is chairman of tourist body Destination NSW, claims staff just wanted to get people, including tourists, off as quickly as possible.
He said there were around 30 people travelling on the boat, which is one of the newer Manly Fast ferries, when the accident happened.
“It’s hit the wharf without any attempt to slow it down,” he said.
“So much that some tourists who were sitting at the front of the boat, he said he was lucky not to have been thrown into the water.
“Most people inside the cabin were thrown, some of them on the floor.
“One guy looked like he might have a broken elbow.
“I got thrown forward and my chest hit the seat in front.
“There was no effort by crew to look after the welfare of passengers. It was passengers looking after passengers.
“They just tried to usher people off the boat.”
Mr. Hartigan said there was no explanation or apology given by staff, which he said didn’t give a good impression of Sydney to visiting tourists.
Another passenger, Bruce Hills, said he “flew into the railing” when the boat hit the wharf.
He also criticized the crew and urged the company to investigate. “Very unimpressed with staff that didn’t apologize for accident let alone explain why it had happened,” he said.
A Manly Fast Ferry spokesman said: “At approximately 12:45pm a Manly Fast Ferry operating between Circular Quay and Manly collided with the wharf at slow speed.
“Six customers were treated at the scene by crew members for minor injuries.
“There has been some minor damage to the vessel above the waterline and a replacement ferry has been organized.
“The master of the vessel will undergo mandatory drug and alcohol testing and the OTSI (Office of Transport and Safety Investigations) has been informed.”
Earlier, a company spokesman said “four or five” passengers suffered minor injuries but were treated on the boat.
“We had minor injuries, four to five people with scratches, but they were treated on the boat, and they walked off,” he said. One lunchtime service had to be cancelled. A worker on the Harbor City ferries vessel which berths on the other side of the wharf saw the accident. He said the starboard side hit the wharf at a 45-degree angle.
“It happened so fast, there was no warning. At the last minute, he turned hard and put a hole in the side of the bow,” he said.