A high-speed ferry crashed in Hyannis Harbor Friday night. –David Curran for The Boston Globe
HYANNISPORT — A high-speed ferry traveling from Nantucket to Hyannis struck the breakwater in Hyannisport Friday night, injuring several people and stranding everyone onboard for hours before they could be evacuated by helicopter or boat.
Coast Guard crews from Woods Hole, Chatham and Nantucket all responded to the scene just off the Cape’s coastline where the Steamship Authority M/V Iyanough ran aground at about 9:30 p.m.
There were 48 passengers on board along with nine crew members, Steamship Authority General Manager Wayne Lamson said in a press conference early Saturday morning.
“We are aware of at least nine injuries,” Lamson said, although the extent of those injuries was not immediately clear.
he ferry struck the breakwater in Hyannisport Friday night, injuring several people and stranding everyone onboard for several hours before they could be evacuated by helicopter and on other boats.
“It’s also reported that it was taking on water,“Petty Officer Cynthia Oldham said.
An online marine traffic program shows the typical course of the ferry heading in and out of Hyannis Harbor, with it normally approaching the breakwater but veering east before coming too close. The last track shows the ferry traveled straight ahead before it struck the breakwater, which extends for 3,000 feet into Nantucket Sound.
As of 10 p.m. seas in the area were at 2 feet with south winds at 12 mph predicted and gusts up to 24 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Lamson said. Crew members were tested for alcohol, and all came up negative. The members would soon also be tested for drugs, he said.
A Coast Guard motor life boat was on scene and a Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod helicopter removed the injured people from the ferry, according to a Twitter post from Coast Guard Station Brant Point.
An HH-60 helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod hoisted five injured passengers off the ferry with help from a doctor onboard, according to the Coast Guard. The aircrew also hoisted ten uninjured passengers who weren’t able to walk over the jetty’s slippery rocks, according to the agency.The remaining passengers were taken by a series of boats back to the shore before a bus brought them back to the terminal.
Several onlookers on shore, some with beer and wine in hand as the night went on, arrived at the Hyannisport Yacht Club, where most of the response teams assembled, to see what was happening but were turned away by officials.
The Iyanough was scheduled to leave Nantucket at 8:45 p.m. and arrive in Hyannis at 9:45 p.m.
High tide was at 7:36 p.m. in Hyannisport.
All the passengers were back ashore before 3:30 a.m.
Coast Guard crews will work with the Steamship Authority to assess the damage to the ferry and “ensure safe navigation in the area,” according to the statement from the Coast Guard.
“Right now, our main goal is working with local agencies to get the remaining passengers ashore safely,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Jeannot Smith, Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England’s deputy commander. “Rough seas, strong winds, and the slippery rocks are impeding the rescue efforts.”
As Saturday morning rolled around, and people were being rescued off the ferry, a handful of people waited inside the Hyannis terminal awaiting their loved ones.
One Sandwich woman was waiting for her husband and son who work on Nantucket and take the boat over five days a week, she said.
They were supposed to take an earlier Hy-Line Cruises boat but missed it, the woman said.
They texted her after the crash, but her cell phone began to die immediately thereafter. Another person who was waiting at the terminal for a sister loaned her a charger.
“They were going pretty good when they hit,” the woman said. “I don’t know what happened.”
For the Father’s Day weekend, the Nicholas Ouellette and his girlfriend were headed back to the mainland to see Ouellette’s parents in Westport.
Ouellette’s Seastreak boat to New Bedford was cancelled so he hopped on the Steamship ferry to Hyannis, where he planned to catch a bus off-cape..
Francine and Donald Ouellette, Nicholas’ parents, drove to Hyannis after their son, a chiropractor/physician on the island, called and broke the news.
“We just decided we wanted to come and receive them,” Francine said. “Everybody was helping everybody else.”
Pictures on the boat showed food and other items toppled over in the aisles as the boat stuck up out of the water, though many people remained calm.
Nicholas made it out unscathed, Francine said.
At about 2:30 a.m., Wayne Lamson apologized to the first few passengers who made it back to the terminal.
“Your safety is of the utmost importance,” he said. He offered to help riders with lodging should they need it and said they are working to get luggage off the boat.
One man said his son, a passenger on the boat at the time of the crash, had medical supplies aboard.
“We are going to do everything we can to get them to you as soon as possible,” Lamson said.
A Westport woman who was also supposed to be on the Seastreak was sitting on the back of the boat when it run aground.
A woman who was one of the nine employees on the boat flew down the stairs and hit her face, the passenger said.
“It was like being in a car crash,” she said.
The Steamship Authority is currently working to figure out how to dislodge the stranded ferry.
“We are in the process of finding a replacement vessel if possible,” Lamson said. A heavy duty crane may be necessary if the boat can’t be refloated, he said. The Steamship will be releasing more information later Saturday afternoon, Lamson said.