Today's scheduled interview by National Transportation Safety Board investigators of the Captain of the Andrew J. Barberi, the Staten Island ferry that struck a pier on October 15, killing 10 passengers and injuring many others, was not conducted because the Captain's attorneys claimed that he requires medical attention.
The Safety Board has asked the Captain's attorneys to provide documentation supporting their claim that the Captain was medically unable to appear in response to a subpoena issued by the NTSB.
The NTSB has been in communication with the Captain's attorneys daily since Thursday, October 16. As recently as Tuesday night, the attorneys indicated that the Captain would appear at the appointed time and place. However, this afternoon the Captain's attorneys informed the NTSB for the first time that his medical condition prevented his appearance today pursuant to NTSB subpoena. The Safety Board has asked for and been promised a written explanation of why the Captain did not appear today.
"I am extremely disappointed that for the second time this week the Captain has not been made available to speak to our investigators," NTSB Chairman Ellen G. Engleman said today. "Our investigation is being conducted aggressively on many fronts and we will find out what occurred on that vessel during that tragic crossing. For the benefit of the millions of passengers who take the Staten Island ferry every year, the more information we receive from those involved in the vessel's operations that day, the sooner we can find ways to prevent such an accident from happening again."
Additionally, the NTSB is also pursuing an interview with the Pilot of the vessel, who remains hospitalized. Investigators are waiting to learn when he will be medically able to be interviewed.