EDGEWATER, N.J. – A commuter ferry that was among the first to respond to the plane splashdown in the Hudson River two years ago had to be rescued itself Wednesday morning when an engine began emitting dark smoke.
There were 25 passengers and two crew members aboard the Moira Smith on the Hudson between New Jersey and New York City when the smoke appeared Wednesday morning, said officials with ferry operator New York Waterway.
An alarm went off and the crew shut down the engine, anchored and called for help, New York Waterway said in a statement. Another ferry responded and accepted some passengers who continued on to Manhattan, and the disabled boat was towed back to the dock.
The boat had just left Edgewater, N.J., south of the George Washington Bridge. No injuries were reported, but one person requested to be taken to a hospital for observation, Edgewater Police Chief Joe Klimaszewski said.
Six passengers transferred to the second boat while the rest returned to the dock and were examined at the dock for smoke inhalation, Klimaszewski said.
The spot where the engine smoke was noticed is a few miles north of where US Airways Flight 1549 made its splash landing with 155 people on board in January 2009, an event that came to be known as the "Miracle on the Hudson."
New York Waterway ferries, including the Moira Smith — named for a New York City police officer who died evacuating people from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 — were among the first to the scene and were credited with rescuing most of the passengers, who waited on the plane's wings as it drifted in the river. No one died.
Klimaszewski, whose department also responded to the splashdown, praised the emergency procedures used Wednesday, and said that when police arrived they found passengers with life vests on and assembled on the boat's deck.
"That was about this time of year," Klimaszewski said, referring to the splashdown. "If I'm on that boat and the alarm goes off, I might be thinking of that. This time of year, on that river, if that boat starts going down, it could have been catastrophic."
The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the engine malfunction.
Associated Press writer David Porter in Newark and photographer Julio Cortez in Edgewater contributed to this report.
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