Staten Island Ferry catches fire in New York Harbor with nearly 700 passengers on board

A Staten Island ferry, carrying nearly 700 passengers, caught fire Thursdayprompting a massive rescue effort just in the afternoon rush hour, authorities said.

The ship was heading for the outer district when the fire broke out in the engine room shortly after 5 p.m., FDNY officials at the scene reported to various media.

At the moment, no injuries are reported.

The first rescue forces to respond to the call for help ran towards the burning boat, which had been anchored in the harbor right next to the pier while the firefighters fought the fire, they contained the fire in the engine room.

All 688 passengers on board received life jacketsbut only a few were evacuated from the ship by tugboats and transported to the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.

Some passengers remained on board after the fire was extinguished. They were pushed into the Staten Island terminal by another ship.

Despite the scare majority on board kept calmas shown by a facebook live stream of the evacuation shared by a passenger who stayed on board.

The Facebook broadcaster, Sal Chatman Morando, a Staten Island resident and Manhattan porter, said a man had started yelling as “heavy, very heavy” smoke was coming from the bottom of the boat.

“I thought he was crazy, I thought there was no way,” Morando recounted.

Morando was stuck on the boat for almost two hours, he said, until they made it to Staten Island. As the ferry approached the terminal, the remaining passengers were asked to sit on the ground and prepare for “an impact.”

Rescue teams reportedly have very low visibility and rely on radar to reach the ferry, which sources say is a new ship costing about $85 million.

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