City can be liable in ferry crash

Court says single pilot should not have been operator
March 27, 2008 12:01:37 PM PDT
An appeals court says New York City cannot limit its liability in the deadly Staten Island ferry crash. The court says the city should not have let a single pilot operate the boat when it rammed into a pier in 2003, killing 11 people. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the city should have made sure at least one other person was in or near the pilothouse in case of an emergency.

Assistant Capt. Richard Smith was alone in the wheelhouse at the time. Investigators said he was suffering from extreme fatigue and was on painkillers when he blacked out.

Many ferry lawsuits have already been settled but dozens of plaintiffs still seek tens of millions of dollars in damages.

City legal spokeswoman Kate O'Brien Ahlers says New York is disappointed in the ruling and weighing its legal options.


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