Transportation Safety Board investigators probing Toronto Island ferry dock crash

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has deployed a team of investigators to “gather information and assess the occurrence” after a Toronto Island ferry crashed into the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal late Saturday afternoon.

The first part of this investigation, known as the “field phase,” entails informing the public of TSB’s deployment to the occurrence site, securing and examining the occurrence site, examining and photographing the equipment, vehicle or wreckage, interviewing witnesses and company and government personnel, selecting and removing the wreckage for further examination, and reviewing documentation.

From there, investigators from independent agency, which probes air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences with the sole aim of advancing of transportation safety, will then examine and analyse their findings and prepare a report that will be released to the public “as quickly as possible.”

During an investigation, the Board, which has investigators in eight regional offices, works with all levels of government, transportation companies, equipment manufacturers, and individuals, including survivors, witnesses, next of kin, and operators. They also collaborate with coroners and medical examiners, and police/fire departments and search-and-rescue teams.

The vessel involved in this collision – the Sam McBride ferry – has since been removed from service.

It is not yet known when the boat will resume its duties, however the City of Toronto, which operates the island ferries, said the “timeline for return-to-service be will shared as soon as it is known.”

The city also said due to the Aug. 20 collision, ferry service between the terminal and Toronto Island will also be running at a reduced passenger capacity until further notice.

“Ferries will still be sailing between Centre Island, Hanlan’s Point and Ward’s Island but passengers can expect longer than normal wait times,” a note posted at the top of the ferry schedule’s web page reads.

Toronto’s Parks, Forestry, and Recreation Division said only three ferries – two passenger-only vessels and one vehicle/passenger vessel – will be operating at this time between the terminal and Toronto Island.

“Unnecessary vehicular passage is discouraged,” they wrote in an Aug. 21 tweet.

In a statement provided to CTV News, the city said it’s “top priority is to protect the safety of the public, passengers and staff by ensuring that our ferry vessels meet Transport Canada safety standards and have required certificates, including the annual Transport Canada safety and security certificate that was issued on June 21, 2022 and the engine and transmission inspection which was last issued on August 10, 2022.”

At least 12 people were hurt in the collision, which resulted in two children and three adults being taken to the hospital for treatment. Acting Supt. Victoria Pfuetzner, of Toronto Paramedic Services, said most injuries were to the knee.

A total of 912 passengers and six crew members were on the ferry at the time of the incident, police said.

The Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Transportation have been notified of the collision and an investigation is ongoing at this time.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.