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Ferry boat accident creates numerous questions

A ferry boat accident has left one person dead, and another severely hurt.

According to an ABC report, the MS San Francisco collided with a small pleasure boat on Sunday afternoon. The accident occurred in Racoon Strait, just south of Tiburon. The ferry was on its way back to San Francisco from Sausalito. Authorities believe that the smaller boat was travelling at a high rate of speed before hitting the ferry, but the accident is still under investigation.

Onlookers from the ferry, which had about 500 people on board, described a chaotic scene. One witness explained how first responders administered CPR to one of the pleasure boat passengers who was completely unresponsive. He later passed away. The other passenger appeared to be in shock over the ordeal.

None of the passengers on the ferry were reported as being injured.

As the investigation continues, Coast Guard officials will interview the ferry boat crew and additional witness to determine how the accident actually occurred. The results could have far-reaching legal implications, as they could form the basis of several lawsuits. For example, if fault is found with the ferry boat crew, it could lead to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the surviving members of the person who was killed. Through such a suit, family members can seek monetary damages for the deceased’s lost income, loss of companionship, as well as pain and suffering.

Conversely, if the pleasure boat driver was at fault, he could be held liable for damages incurred by the ferry boat company. Boat operators have a duty to use reasonable care while on the water, just as drivers in cars do. The failure to use such care could create liability should an accident occur.

Source: ABC, Golden Gate Ferry service resumes normal operation after small boat accident, February 18, 2013

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