Seastreak's ferry from New Jersey to lower Manhattan, Seastreak Wall Street, crashed into a dock this morning, injuring more than 70 people. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a cause. As of late this afternoon, it is believed the ferry either developed a mechanical problem, forcing it to strike a buoy and veer into the dock, or that the buoy collision caused mechanical failure.
I give a lot of credit to Seastreak for its communications response. A prepared statement replaced its homepage, but links to information about the company were left alone, enabling reporters and others to learn about the company. I want to copy here the statement in full because it provides communicators with an outline of what to say shortly after a sudden crisis.
"Dear Seastreak Riders,
"Our priority continues to be the people who were injured. Right now, we’re working to bring family members to the city and to make other arrangements to help them.
"We want to thank New York City’s emergency responders for arriving on the scene so quickly and helping us attend to those who were hurt. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who were injured.
"We are simply shocked and stunned that this happened. We know passengers rely on us to provide safe transit on our boats - and safety is the number one concern for our company. We are very sorry this accident occurred.
"We are working with the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard to determine what happened. We don’t have those answers yet, but will do whatever we can to find out.
Seastreak's statement addressed:
- Concern for victims and their families.
- Recognition of emergency responders.
- We are a good company and regret this unusual occurrence.
- We will fully cooperate with investigators to find a cause.
- Here's where to call if you need help or have questions.