SEATTLE (AP) — A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people ran aground near Bainbridge Island west of Seattle on Saturday but there were no immediate reports of injuries or contamination, authorities said.
The Walla Walla ran aground in Rich Passage around 4:30 p.m. as it was traveling from the city of Bremerton to Seattle, according to Washington State Ferries, a division of the state Department of Transportation.
“Initial indications are the vessel suffered a generator failure,” but investigators were still looking into what happened, the agency said.
There were 596 passengers and 15 crew members aboard, according to ferries spokesperson Diane Rhodes. A tug boat and the Coast Guard were on the scene.
“Low tide is about 8:09 p.m.,” Rhodes wrote in an email. “We are coordinating with local transit to have buses standing by.”
“We are keeping passengers onboard. … Vessel engineers believe tide will be at the right height to safely tow the boat at midnight. We apologize to passengers. Their safety is our first priority,” the ferries agency said later on Twitter.
The state Department of Ecology posted a photo online showing the vessel near the shore. As people looked at it from the beach and snapped pictures, a tug was positioned at one of the end of the ferry with an apparent Coast Guard boat nearby.
“No pollution or hull damage detected at this time,” the department said. “Ecology responders on the way to the scene.”
The Pacific Northwest Coast Guard dispatched crews on cutters and a helicopter.
The Seattle-Bremerton route was out of service until further notice, the Department of Transportation said on its website.
The website lists the Walla Walla as a four-engine, jumbo class ferry with a maximum capacity of 2,000 passengers and 188 vehicles. It is 440 feet in length with a draft of 18 feet.
The Walla Walla was constructed in 1973 in Seattle and rebuilt in 2003, according to the site.
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