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Five injured when B.C. Ferries vessel slams into dock

At least five people were injured – including one person who wasairlifted to a Vancouver hospital – when a passenger ferry slammed intoa dock on Mayne Island Tuesday morning.

At least five people were injured – including one person who was airlifted to a Vancouver hospital – when a passenger ferry slammed into a dock on Mayne Island Tuesday morning.

The Queen of Nanaimo, which services the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands Route, experienced a “hard landing” at 7:35 a.m. as it approached the Village Bay ferry terminal with 193 passengers aboard.

Mike Corrigan, B.C. Ferries’ chief operating officer, did not know how fast the vessel was travelling, but did say the captain dropped both anchors as he approached. He did not know how far from the dock the anchors were deployed.

“It was obviously coming in harder than it normally does,” Corrigan said. “We’re categorizing this as a very hard landing, but we don’t know the cause.”

At least four passengers and one crewmember were injured. The most serious injury was a head trauma or concussion that required the victim to be flown by air ambulance to Vancouver General Hospital.

A second person was taken to a Mayne Island clinic with a minor injury, said a spokeswoman for the B.C. Ambulance Service.

Other injuries included cracked ribs and a bruised shoulder. A pregnant woman fell during the crash and was checked over.

Both the vessel and the terminal sustained minor damage. The Village Bay terminal has two berths, however, meaning that ferry service to the island and to the other Southern Gulf Islands will continue, but not from Tsawwassen.

Passengers from the Mainland will have to travel first to Swartz Bay and catch a connecting ferry to the Gulf Islands.

Corrigan said B.C. Ferries has launched an internal investigation to determine whether the incident was caused by human or mechanical error. It is expected to take a minimum of one month. Transport Canada will also investigate the matter.

“We’ve got to learn from it and move on and minimize the risk going forward,” Corrigan said.

B.C. Ferries operates 182,000 sailings a year, more than 500 a day.

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