Bridge and Ship Collide in the Black Rock Canal

Friday, June 07, 2002
The Coast Guard responded to the collision between the small passenger vessel MISS BUFFALO II and the International Railroad Swing Bridge located on the Black Rock Canal, four miles north of downtown Buffalo on June 5. Following a tour of the Buffalo water front area, the passenger vessel was returning to its dock with 175 persons onboard including 120 school children from Maple West Elementary School in Williamsville, N.Y., parents, teachers and the vessels crew. At approximately 11 a..m., the 82-foot passenger vessel passed through the International Railroad swing bridge, along with two other vessels, when the bridge began to close. Part of the bridge hit the canopy of the boat, collapsing it on to the passengers and injuring two adults and one child. No other serious injuries or damage occurred onboard the vessel. The tour boat was moored at Rich Marina where the injured were taken to local hospitals. It is now being moved to its normal mooring.

Only superficial damage was done to the bridge. It was closed until operational inspections were made. The bridge is now back in service. The International Railroad Bridge is owned by Canada and the Canadian Bridge and Building Dept. has relieved the operator and is conducting drug and alcohol testing of the operator as part of the investigation. Investigation of the incident continues. Coast Guard investigators from Marine Safety Office Buffalo were on scene to investigate the cause of the accident. Units responding: - Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Buffalo - Coast Guard Station Buffalo - Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team - Buffalo Police Department - Buffalo Fire Department - Erie County Sheriff’s Office - Canadian Bridge and Building Department Miss Buffalo II: - Owned by Buffalo Charters Inc. - Returning from a tour of the Black Rock Channel - Carrying 175 school children, parent chaperons and crew Injured: - Teacher’s aid, Colleen Dressel, Williamsville, N.Y. - Adult Tour Guide, Virginia Fourview, Buffalo N.Y. - One Child, name not released

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