Ferry Runs Aground Close To Seattle; No Injuries Reported

A passenger ferry loaded with hundreds of individuals reportedly ran aground close to Bainbridge Island toward the west of Seattle on Saturday. There were no reports of contamination or injuries, the authorities mentioned.

The Walla Walla had run aground in the Rich Passage at about 4:30 p.m. as it was travelling to Seattle from Bremerton, per Washington State Ferries, the state Department of Transportation’s division.

Initial reports suggest that the vessel experienced a generator failure. However, the investigators were looking into what happened, the agency mentioned.

Passenger Haley Socha informed The Seattle Times that the ferry’s lights had gone out approximately 20 minutes after the voyage started, and the engines also stopped.

The lights were back after a minute, and an alarm went out, followed by an announcement that the vessel was lacking propulsion. It warned everyone to brace for the impact.

All those on the vessel tried helping one another as they donned their life vests, Socha explained.

There were 596 passengers and 15 crew members aboard, Diane Rhodes, the ferries spokesperson. A tug boat and the Coast Guard were on the scene.

Initially, the guests were kept onboard. An individual experienced a medical emergency not related to the grounding, and that necessitated an evacuation, per the agency.

At about 8 p.m., Kitsap Transit started taking others off the vessel, per the ferry officials. The transit agency also dispatched two passenger-only vessels, the Waterman and the Commander, with respective capacities of about 250 and 150 guests, needing multiple trips to the Walla Walla.

In another half an hour, the Kitsap Transit reported that the Commander delivered the first-ever load of individuals to the slip based at Bremerton. A photograph captured by a Coast Guard officer reflected the Walla Walla close to the shore as people were looking at it from the beach and clicking images.

A tug was also positioned at one end of the ferry, with a Coast Guard boat close by. No hull damage or pollution has been detected, per the state Department of Ecology. The Seattle-Bremerton channel was out of service until further notice, the Department of Transportation posted on its official website.

The website further lists the Walla Walla as a jumbo-class, four-engine ferry that comes with a maximum capacity of holding about 2,000 passengers as well as 188 vehicles. It measures about 440 feet in length and boasts a draft of about 18 feet.

Reference: CNN, CBS News

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