By Brennan Stark, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A ferry carrying over 900 people crashed into a dock near the Praça Quinze (XV Square) pier in Rio de Janeiro Monday afternoon. At least 65 on board were hospitalized, but there were no reported deaths. The Transportation Regulation Agency (Agetransp) and the Port Authority have opened an investigation into the cause of the accident.
According to passengers aboard the Gávea 1, at approximately 12:15PM a crew member shouted for the anchor to be dropped immediately. Seconds later, the vessel crashed into the pier without ever slowing down.
There were 907 passengers aboard the boat, which has a maximum capacity of 1,300. It had been traveling the popular Niterói-Rio route, which ferried an average of 90,000 passengers a day between January and June of this year.
Congressman Gilberto Palmares, who has led safety inspections on the daily catamarans before, stated that a lack of boats and subsequent overcrowding has resulted in less time and attention for regular maintenance.
“It is not the first nor the second time that a vessel…cannot dock. Fortunately, [there were] no fatalities, but there could have been,” he claimed.
In September 2010 a catamaran making the same journey needed to make an emergency docking and collided with another boat near the same location. Last month, another boat traveling to Niterói crashed into the rocks near Gragoatá landfill, leaving eighteen injured.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.