Coast Guard trying to determine cause of Hyannis ferry crash

A high-speed ferry crashed in Hyannis Harbor Friday night.
A high-speed ferry crashed in Hyannis Harbor Friday night.

Investigators from the US Coast Guard interviewed crew members and witnesses Sunday about the crash of a Cape Cod ferry into a jetty Friday night that left 15 people injured.

The interviews are part of an active investigation to determine, among other things, what caused the ferry to crash, said Lieutenant John Mansolillo, a spokesman for Sector Southeastern New England of the Coast Guard.

The crash occurred at about 9:30 p.m. Friday as the ferry reached Hyannis after leaving Nantucket. The injured passengers were treated at Cape Cod Hospital, and all were released by noon Saturday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.


The ferry had been traveling at about 32 knots, or about 38 miles per hour, which was the maximum speed for that part of the harbor, said Wayne Lamson, general manager of the Steamship Authority, which operates the ferry, at a press conference Saturday. He said it’s “not unusual” for boats to travel at that speed in that area.

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The Steamship Authority officials said that the weather Friday night, which included high winds and choppy seas, may have been a factor in the crash.

Mansolillo said he could not comment Sunday afternoon on whether speed played a role in the incident, but said mariners are always advised to use safety precautions when dealing with adverse weather conditions.

Those conditions, he said, vary depending on the type of vessel. “A rowboat’s safe speed is maybe different than a high-speed ferry’s safe speed,” he said. “They have different characteristics.”

Public safety and Steamship Authority officials said they will not comment on the cause until the investigation is complete.


The crew was tested for alcohol and drugs, according to the Steamship Authority. The alcohol tests came back clean, but the drug tests will take longer.

The high-speed ferry service between Nantucket and Hyannis was running on an abbreviated schedule Sunday, according to an advisory on the website of the Steamship Authority.

Several people who answered the phone at Steamship Authority offices Sunday could not say whether the changed schedule had anything to do with Friday’s crash.

Felicia Gans can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.