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Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Blog

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Authorities Continue to Investigate New York City Ferry Collision with Kayakers

Who is legally responsible for the kayak accident that happened on the Hudson River? 

What should have been a peaceful day on the water turned catastrophic when a ferry carrying passengers on the Hudson River crashed into a group of ten kayakers, critically injuring one and knocking several others into the river.  The accident happened in the evening hours.  Witnesses described the scene with horror.  The instructor leading the group of kayakers with Manhattan Kayak Company sustained serious injuries and was slipping in and out of consciousness after the collision.  Thankfully, all of the kayakers survived the accident and no one aboard the ferry was hurt.

Sun Glare Was a Factor

The United States Coast Guard is continuing its investigation into the accident and a final determination of what caused the collision could take weeks or even months.  Immediate reports indicate that the sun may have been a factor in the crash.  The ferry operator has stated that he did not see the kayakers due to the glare of the sun.  The captain has passed an alcohol test, which was routinely administered after the crash, and his employer, NY Waterway, is cooperating with the investigation.

If investigations reveal that the captain acted in a negligent manner, such as failing to adequately check for smaller recreational boats in the area, the ferry company could potentially be held legally responsible for the damages sustained by the injured kayakers.

Were the Kayakers Too Close?

The kayaking group, led by Manhattan Kayak Company, attempted to signal its presence to the ferry, but questions remain as to why the group was so close to the ferry.  Parts of the Hudson River and other waterways around New York and New Jersey have moved towards mixed-use, meaning that both large commercial vessels and smaller recreational boats will be present in the waters.  This makes it imperative that those in kayaks and small vessels keep a close eye out for large boats that may not see them.  If the U.S. Coast Guard concludes that the kayak instructor acted negligently in leading the tour to the location of the accident, Manhattan Kayak Company may be legally responsible for the damages suffered by members of the tour. 


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