There was 'concrete flying everywhere' during BC Ferries crash, passenger says
Passengers who were on the Queen of Surrey when it collided with a berthing structure on the Sunshine Coast Tuesday are recounting the startling incident.
Dustin Doussept, a Salmon Arm resident who is visiting the coast this week, said he could tell something wasn't right as he watched the 139-metre-long ferry attempting to turn into the Langdale terminal Tuesday morning.
"I realized right away we weren't going to make the corner," Doussept said. "Sure enough, we hit the berth and (there was) concrete flying everywhere. It was pretty crazy."
Vancouver resident Steve McGivern realized there was trouble when a voice came over the ferry's PA system warning the 200-odd passengers on the Queen of Surrey to "brace for impact."
"I've been riding these ferries my whole life, I never heard an announcement to brace for impact," he said.
McGivern was only planning to spend the day in Langdale. Since the accident kept passengers trapped on board for about 10 hours, once they were finally able to disembark, McGivern had to turn right back around and head home.
"What kind of day trip has it been? It's been a long and uneventful one," he said.
The collision apparently left the ferry stuck on the berthing structure. Witness video taken seconds after the crash shows water gushing onto the dock as the operators try in vain to steer the vessel away.
It took from about 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for crews to confirm it was safe to remove, and two tugboats were brought in to carefully manoeuvre the ferry into its proper position.
There were cheers from onlookers in the crowd when the Queen of Surrey was finally able to dock, and drivers honked their horns in excitement as they made it back on dry land.
"It was just relief to get off the boat," Doussept said. "I mean nobody wants to be on the boat for that long. We all expected a short 40-minute crossing over to Langdale this morning and it definitely wasn't that."
BC Ferries has promised to conduct a full investigation to determine what happened, and said incidents like Tuesday's are extremely rare.
In the meantime, the Queen of Surrey is being taken out of service "until further notice." Passengers will still be able to travel between Langdale and Horseshoe Bay on the Queen of Cowichan and Queen of Oak Bay.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Angela Jung