A ramp leading to a ferry loading dock on River Street in Savanah, Georgia collapsed Saturday afternoon, injuring at least 30 of the 55 people who were on the dock. Thirteen of the victims’ injuries were serious enough that they needed to be hospitalized. Tragically, a firefighter from the Savannah Fire Department suffered what is believed to be a medical condition while attempting to save the victims who had fallen into the river. He died several hours later at a local hospital.
Witnesses of the accident said that as people were waiting to board the ferry – a popular tourist attraction – the ramp suddenly dropped about three or four feet, tilted forward, leaving those standing it unbalanced and falling off into the water.
Many bystanders to the accident attempted to help victims, trying to grab them out of the river, which reportedly had a very strong current.
Authorities say they are investigating the cause of the collapse and at this time do not know if it was overcrowding or another reason which caused the ramp to give out. The ferry is run by the Chatham Area Transit, the same agency which handles the areas’ other mass transit transportation options, including streetcars and buses.
Common carriers not only have a duty to ensure that all the modes of transportation they operate are functioning safely, they also owe a duty of care to make sure the areas where commuters will be waiting and getting on and off the vehicles are also safe.
Anyone who is injured in a mass transit accident should contact an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney. There are stringent legal rules and deadlines when it comes to filing damages for accident injuries, but when it comes to filing a claim against a government-owned entity, those guidelines may become even more rigid.
Our Carolinas mass transit accident firm has successfully represented many victims against common carrier companies and understand and possess the skills that are needed when going up against a large company operated by a municipality, as well as their insurance company.