by: Gary Horcher Updated:
SEATTLE - The ripple effect of the ferry “Tacoma” stalling in the water caused chaos and even a passenger stampede at Seattle’s Colman dock Tuesday.
Left with only one ferry to serve the busiest route in the entire system, the lines of waiting passengers filled the parking lot, and stretched through the gates into the streets, and beyond. Some passengers reported waiting five hours for a spot on a Bainbridge-bound ferry.
Adding to the pressure, the U.S. Coast Guard only allowed 300 passengers on the ferry Walla Walla, which has the capacity to hold more than 1,500 people. Since there was no other boat to help with a possible rescue situation, the Coast Guard decided 300 was the maximum they could help in an emergency.
As a result, passengers on bikes and motorcycles rushed the gates, and WSF workers said they had no choice but to jump out of their way.
“Motorcycles over there pushed their way through,” said waiting passenger Michael Sherbina. “And one ferry worker threw up her hands and said ‘I can't stop them!’”
“While everyone wants on this one, I only have room for 300,” shouted a ferry worker at an angry crowd.
"I've never seen this, ever,” said passenger Tom Cartelli. “I wish they would have told me about this when I came in. I would have driven around. As a matter of fact, I am driving around tomorrow.”
WSF told KIRO-7 they will add a ferry to serve passengers on the Wednesday morning Bainbridge to Seattle run.
The ferry Tacoma is still stranded in the water near Bainbridge.