Bainbridge ferry disabled after 'hard landing'

Bainbridge ferry disabled after 'hard landing'
The ferry Wenatchee sits at Colman Dock after making a hard landing.
SEATTLE - A car ferry on the Seattle-Bainbridge Island route has been removed from service indefinitely, after it slammed into Colman Dock late Sunday morning.

Witnesses told KOMO News that the Seattle-bound ferry Wenatchee came out of the fog with its horn blasting as it approached the pier at a higher speed than normal and made a hard landing.

The Wenatchee has been removed from service for all of the remaining runs Sunday and possibly all day Monday - or even longer - while unspecified repairs are made to the vessel.

Service on the Bainbridge Island route was reduced to one boat after the impact. At about 3:20 p.m., ferry officials added a second vessel to the Bainbridge run by pulling one of the two ferries from the Bremerton-Seattle route.

The Bremerton route will be on a one-vessel schedule for the rest of the day Sunday and also on Monday morning. A passenger-only ferry will be added to the Bremerton route Monday afternoon, to supplement the single car ferry.

Ferry officials said one elderly person on board the Wenatchee was injured as the ferry struck the dock.

The vessel is now undergoing repairs, and ferry officials have not said definitively when it coming back into service.

One eyewitness said the ferry hit the dock so hard that it bounced back after impact. The witness sent this report to KOMO News:

"We’re waiting for the 11:25 boat to Bainbridge this morning (at Colman Dock) and the ferry came out the fog way north of where they normally come into dock (even in the fog when the dock somewhat sideways) and way too fast.

"The pilot was honking the horn repeatedly (there were no boats to be seen in the ferry’s way) and then the pilot threw the reverse thrusters on hard and hit the dock and bounced back.

"Apparently, an elderly woman was hurt and the fire department called. We’re all now waiting to see when the boat will sail."

The ferry system announced the following schedule for the Bremerton-Seattle ferry route on Monday:

The 8/31 Monday morning commute schedule with the MV Kitsap is as follows until further notice: 6:20 am Bremerton; 7:35 am Seattle; 9:00 am Bremerton; 10:15 am Seattle; 11:30 am Bremerton. Passenger-only service is being developed for afternoon service in conjunction with Kitsap auto-ferry service. More details will be forthcoming.