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For 2nd Day, N.Y. Ferry Captain Rebuffs Investigators

Oct 22, 2003 | AP

For a second day, a Staten Island Ferry captain refused to meet with federal investigators to discuss last week's fatal crash.

Michael Gansas who could have provided backup for the pilot, Richard Smith wouldn't meet with investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday and that prompted federal officials to issue a subpoena.

Smith reportedly lost consciousness at the controls, prompting the crash that killed 10 people and left dozens hurt.

Gansas' refusal to cooperate also caused him to be suspended from his job.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he considered it "an outrage" that somebody with information refuses to talk.

"A person like that has no business working for the city, and we will take every legal action we can to get his testimony," Bloomberg said.

On Wednesday, his attorney said Gansas is still too traumatized to speak about the crash. He said Gansas is being "unfairly vilified."

It's not clear if Gansas will be held in contempt for refusing to meet with investigators, who are trying to find out where he was in the minutes leading up to the crash, when the massive ferry slammed into the wood pilings as it approached its dock.

Smith remains in critical condition after a suicide attempt. His attorney said Smith is not yet able to talk.

A source told The Associated Press that the ship's captain indicated the pilot was "slumped forward" and could have hit the throttle, sending the ferry speeding toward the pier.

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