“The Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal is out of service until further notice following a hard landing by the Cathlamet,” WSDOT said on its website. “The Issaquah will be the only boat on the route for now and will continue service between Southworth and Vashon. The boat will not operate on its regular schedule and just load vehicles before departing to its next destination to move as much traffic as possible.”
Ian Sterling, a public information officer for Washington State Ferries, said the Cathlamet had a “hard landing” causing “significant and serious damage,” to the vessel.
“It’s not something that we ever want to see happen, and obviously a scary situation for both passengers and crew,” Sterling said, adding that no serious injuries were reported.
Sterling said the cause of the crash is under investigation, and that the crew has been drug and alcohol tested, which is standard procedure.
“And we’re working with our federal partners and others to really investigate what happened here. We want to know so it doesn’t happen again,” Sterling said. “This is a really rare occurrence at Washington State Ferries.”
Sterling said the vessel is expected to be out of commission for a few months as it undergoes repairs.
Roberta Christensen and her wife Terra Schaller were in their car on the upper deck of the ferry and were parked across from the area where the deck collapsed.
“It was a hard hit, cars all surged forward and I could immediately see from where we were that something was cutting into the metal deck. Or it was folding for a very bad reason,” she told CNN.
She said she yelled to her wife that they were crashing and that her wife asked if they were sinking.
“I jumped out to see if anyone needed help and she called 911,” Christensen said.
Christensen said there were no alarms or sirens and the crew eventually docked the boat.
She said firefighters and paramedics walked on the boat as they drove off.
Christensen is an island commuter and says she takes the ferry several times a week.
“Now we’re down to a one boat schedule so things are about to get very messy,” she said.