The dark of night on the water, which can mean reduced visibility, may have been a factor in the 1 a.m. collision just off Manhattan's Pier 40.
"The big ship just went over the speedboat," rescuer Avram Ludwig said.
Ludwig and Doug Liman saw it all from their sailboat, moored nearby. They rushed over to save the four people who were thrown into the river when their 31-foot-boat got plowed over by the much bigger vessel, which just kept on going.
"When we got there, the people were yelling and screaming at us to save them," Ludwig said.
The Coast Guard towed the crumpled boat to Jersey City's Liberty Landing Marina, where the director of operations was shocked anyone survived the mid-river accident.
"Anytime I have ever seen anything with this type of impact, there are always fatalities involved," Ronald Teneyck said.
As the Coast Guard continues its investigation, trying to identify the 300-foot cargo ship witnesses say was involved, rescuers Ludwig and Liman are convinced the big ship never saw the little one.
"I believe people are good," Liman said. "And if that boat knew there was a boat in front of it, it would have, it did nothing. It didn't even try to turn."
WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King
NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS
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