NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are trying to determine what caused a ferry to crash into a group of kayakers on the Hudson River.
According to the NYPD, 10 kayakers were struck by a water taxi at 39th Street at Pier 79 as the Jersey City ferry was leaving the terminal around 5:45 p.m. The group of paddlers who were part of the Manhattan Kayak Company tour were heading southbound on the Hudson.READ MORE: Father, Son Killed In Early Morning House Fire In New Jersey
The pilot of the ferry boat told police it was sun glare that prevented him from seeing the kayakers who were in the water beneath the boater on Tuesday afternoon, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
Five kayakers were transported to Bellevue Hospital Center and Mount Sinai West Hospital. Four people received minor injuries, while one was seriously hurt.
This afternoon 6 of the 7 transported to the hospital are still recovering. including the instructor leading the group with Manhattan kayak company, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported. He was badly hurt and slipping in and out of consciousness when rescue crews got to him.
“He was lying on top of the kayak and it was this a pool of blood,” NYPD Harbor Unit rescuer Tommy Le said. “And we knew that we had to go over there and assist him as a priority.”
According to officials, the kayaker is in good spirits despite his severe injury.
All the kayakers were wearing life jackets as required by the Manhattan Kayak Company.
Police say there are protocols for who has the right of way in the waterway shared by both commercial and recreational vehicles.
The agency says although the tiny paddle boats are no match for larger vessels, they are allowed to be everywhere the larger ships are.
“Anytime there is a perceived collision, both parties are responsible to stay out of each other’s way,” David Driscoll, of the NYPD Harbor Unit, said.
In spite of the accident tourists from New Zealand said they would be happy to go paddleboarding with the same guides who took them into the waters of the Hudson earlier this week.READ MORE: THE GREAT ESCAPE: Clever Pup Facilitates Breakout From New Jersey Doggy Day Care
“They were great instructors. Everyone was having a blast,” Priyanka Parihar told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris, “They are so good with it. I don’t fear getting into the water.”
Investigators are working to determine if protocols were followed by both parties. Results from a breathalyzer test show he was not under the influence- blowing a 0.0 blood alcohol level. The required horn was also sounded when backing up.
There are no federal boating regulations about training required to operate a kayak, but after Tuesday’s accident concern are mounting.
Captain Rick Mendez — a boating instructor and unaffiliated large boat operator said the accident provides an opportunity to strengthen regulations for paddle powered boats which have no restriction to where they can travel along the busy, and sometimes choppy river.
“They should be restricted to certain areas in my opinion because the amount of commercial traffic that there is,” he said. “I’ve had hard times seeing them as well.”
At the crash scene, the captain of the ferry told the Coast Guard that sun glare prevented him from seeing the small kayaks — after following procedure, blowing the horn, he backed up right into them.
Rear camera footage will aid in the ongoing crash investigation. A request for an explanation from the New York Waterway were turned away.
Manhattan Kayak Company never opened its doors to be questioned. An instructor who works there was seriously injured in the accident.
Captain Mendez said the vessel with the most restricted maneuverability has the right of way — whether that was the ferry or kayak, is unclear.
The Coast Guard said the kayak company followed safety suggestions. Boaters were wearing life vests at the time of the crash.MORE NEWS: Caught On Video: Carmine's Hostess Attacked After Asking Tourists For Proof Of Vaccination