Friday, September 26, 2014

Sailboat Heading South On East River De - Masted Striking Roosevelt Island Bridge This Afternoon - Eyewitness Says Miracle Nobody injured

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reported a sailboat on the East River striking the Roosevelt Island Bridge this afternoon:

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Director Jack McManus added:
No damage to bridge. No injuries. The only damage was to the ships mast.
Image From William S

Tom Sakmar witnessed the incident and writes:
A large bi-hull sailboat was de-masted today (September 26, 2014) at about 2:47 p.m. when it hit the Roosevelt Island Bridge. The boat was in the East Channel of the East River heading South propelled by a rapid tidal current. The West Channel of the river was closed to most boat traffic due to United Nations Week security.

The metal mast and all the rigging and struts came came crashing down to the deck within seconds as the two adults on the deck, a man and woman, scrambled to stay clear. Neither of them appeared to be injured, but the boat started to drift toward the rocks on Roosevelt Island as the captain tried to start an outboard auxiliary motor.

A large cabin cruiser with a flying bridge was motoring Northbound and made way toward the de-masted sailboat. Eventually the cruiser spun around and appeared to come abeam of the sailboat to lend assistance.

Despite the large number of police and U.S. Coastguard vessels in the West Channel of the East River, the de-masted sail boat and cruiser proceeded under the Queensboro Bridge at about 3:00 p.m. without any assistance from the authorities.

It is really miraculous that the two people on deck were not killed or serious injured in this unfortunate accident.

Since 9/11, the West Channel of the East River has generally been closed to most boat traffic during high level security periods such as United Nations Week. Traffic is therefore rerouted to the East Channel very close to the Big Allis (Ravenswood No. 3) electric power generator, which is a huge natural gas power plant with huge kerosene fuel oil backup tanks very near to the edge of the river. Obviously there is some security trade-off here, but it’s not clear that it makes a lot of sense to the casual observer.