SEATTLE (AP) — A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people ran aground on Saturday near Bainbridge Island, west of Seattle, with no reports of injuries or pollution, officials said.
According to Washington State Ferry, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Walla Walla ran aground at Rich Passage around 4:30 p.m. en route from Bremerton to Seattle.
“The first indication is that the ship has suffered a generator failure,” but investigators are still investigating what happened, officials said.
Passenger Haley Socha told The Seattle Times that the ferry’s lights went out and the engine stopped about 20 minutes into the voyage. A minute later the lights came back on and there was an alarm and an announcement warning people that the ship had no propulsion and to prepare for impact.
People were wearing life jackets and helping each other, Socha said.
“Everyone was really nice and kind to each other,” Socha told The Times.
There were 596 passengers and 15 crew on board, according to ferry spokesperson Diane Rose. Tugboats and the Coast Guard were at the scene.
“Ship engineers believe the tide will be at the right height to tow the boat safely in the middle of the night. We apologize to our passengers on board. Their safety is our number one priority,” said Washington. State Ferry said on Twitter.
Passengers initially remained on board. One passenger suffered a medical emergency unrelated to the ground and required evacuation.
Around 8 p.m., Kitsap Transit began unloading other crew members from the boat, ferry officials said. Transportation deployed her two passenger vessels, Commander and Waterman, each capable of accommodating 250 and her 150 passengers, requiring multiple trips to Walla Walla. At about 8:30, Kitsap Transit reported that its commander had delivered the first cargo to the Bremerton slip.
Washington State Ferry said it was “working on a plan for the onboard vehicles so that passengers can retrieve them tomorrow.”
Photos taken by Coast Guard personnel showed people looking at Walla Walla from the beach and taking pictures. A tug was positioned at one end of the ferry, with apparently Coast Guard boats nearby.
“No contamination or hull damage has been detected at this time,” the state’s environment ministry reports. “Ecology responders on their way to the scene.”
The Seattle-Bremerton route was not operational until further notice, according to the Department of Transportation’s website.
According to its website, Walla Walla is listed as a jumbo-class ferry with four engines that can accommodate up to 2,000 passengers and 188 vehicles. It is 440 feet (134 meters) long and has a draft of 18 feet (5.4 meters).
Walla Walla was built in Seattle in 1973 and rebuilt in 2003, according to the site.
Contributed by Los Angeles-based AP writer Stephanie Dazio.
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https://fox40.com/news/national/ap-us-news/ferry-runs-aground-near-seattle-no-injuries-reported/ A ferry runs aground near Seattle.no injuries reported