Passenger ferry carrying almost 600 people runs aground in Washington

Apr 16, 2023, 2:00 PM

The ferry Walla Walla has run aground in Rich Passage near Bainbridge Island west of Seattle on Sat...

The ferry Walla Walla has run aground in Rich Passage near Bainbridge Island west of Seattle on Saturday, April 15, 2023. There were no immediate reports of injuries or contamination, authorities said. (Mike Reicher/The Seattle Times via AP)

(Mike Reicher/The Seattle Times via AP)

Originally Published: 16 APR 23 11:59 ET

    (CNN) — All passengers have safely disembarked a passenger ferry that ran aground on Saturday in Rich Passage near Bainbridge Island in Washington state.

A total of 596 passengers and 15 crew members were aboard the ship, according to a tweet from US Coast Guard Pacific Northwest, which responded to the scene. The last of the passengers had safely disembarked by 10 pm, Washington State Ferries said in an update.

The ferry Walla Walla ran aground at around 4:30 pm Saturday while making the trip from Bremerton to Seattle, Washington State Ferries wrote in a tweet.

There were no injuries reported, said Washington State Ferries. The agency said that initial signs suggest the vessel suffered a “generator failure” and an official investigation is forthcoming.

Passengers were transferred to Kitsap Transit vessels that took them to Bremerton, said Washington State Ferries. Travelers with cars on the grounded ferry were instructed to retrieve them at the Bremerton terminal on Sunday morning.

“We know it’s not ideal, but thanks for helping us make the best of a bad situation,” officials wrote on Twitter. The agency also mentioned that they are “working on a process for refunding all of tonight’s customers for their uncompleted trips.”

The Washington State Department of Ecology reported that “no pollution or hull damage” was detected from the ship’s grounding.

One passenger aboard the Walla Walla when it ran aground described hearing sirens and seeing lights flicker as the ship lost power, according to CNN affiliate KOMO.

“We heard some sirens going off and the lights flickering on and off and then you can feel the ferry lose power,” said Matt Holyoak.

“They made another announcement saying ‘everyone needs to come to the passenger deck, we’ve lost steering (control) and everyone needs to brace for impact,'” he went on, according to KOMO. “And so we were all sitting down and a little concerned.”

The voyage from Bremerton to Seattle typically takes around an hour, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s website. The department deployed another ship, Issaquah, to take over the Walla Walla’s route on Sunday.

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Passenger ferry carrying almost 600 people runs aground in Washington