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Ferry Runs Aground In Brooklyn, Over 100 Passengers Evacuated

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A ferry ran aground in Brooklyn on Saturday, leading to the evacuation of over 100 passengers.

A ferry at a standstill in the Bushwick Inlet after it ran aground, taking on water. It was a sight taking many by surprise, standing alongside a fence to capture video and see it firsthand, like cyclist Andrew Littlefield.

"Noticed the ferry, like, sideways in the water. I thought it might have been an old boat or something that wrecked, then I saw the police and helicopter around, you guys, and I thought, 'That's not normal,'" he said.

The ferry company Seastreak says just after 4 p.m., while traveling along the East River from New Jersey jersey to 34th Street in Manhattan, the Commodore experienced a mechanical issue that caused the 150-foot vessel to lose power and steering.

It then slowly drifted into the inlet and came to rest along the shore in Greenpoint.

Jonathan Winawer was on board the ferry, going from the beach back to Manhattan with his family.

"To be with a 1-year-old on a boat and you don't know what's wrong and it's starting to tilt over, that was scary," he told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis. "The only announcement was, 'Have a seat.' Like nothing is wrong, have a seat, and that makes you think actually something is wrong."

He says they had no idea what was going on but were handed life vests, including one for his daughter, Yoomi.

"It tilted. That was obvious, and they said at some point, everybody go on the right side of the boat," Winawer said.

"Our units from multiple agencies arrived in under four minutes. We had nearby fire and police vessels already in the water due to a Jet Ski incident not far down the river," FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala said.

"To get people off the boat, the fire department, they had these cups or cherry pickers ... We had the baby so my wife and the baby got in first and I watched them and they went way up and swung around and almost hit a tree," Winawer said.

The FDNY says 125 people were on board the boat, including seven crew members. The NYPD Special Ops posted pictures to Twitter showing the safe evacuation.

"People were calm. Nobody likes to be... run a sandbar and run aground, but they were calm. Nobody panicked," Gala said.

Seastreak says prior to the vessel going aground, the captain and crew alerted the passengers to be seated and hold on, so nobody was hurt, but Winawer says communication could have been better.

"It's important for the crew to keep people informed. The only reason people were nervous mostly was they didn't know what was going on," he said.

It was Yoomi's first ferry ride, and while she may not remember it, it's one her parents won't forget.

The Coast Guard says it's working with Seastreak on the investigation and inspection of the vessel to hopefully prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

One crew member was taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion.

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