Local News

Ferry Oral Freeman breaks down in Narrows

The Ken Eichner is seen crossing the Tongass Narrows. This ferry assisted the Oral Freeman, which broke down while crossing the channel Thursday.

The airport ferry Oral Freeman broke down in the middle of Tongass Narrows Thursday afternoon, and had to be pushed by other boats into a slip to allow passengers to disembark.

Ketchikan International Airport Manager Mike Carney said it was a loss of pressure, and it’s too soon to tell why that happened, but the mechanic who works on the ferries was on board even before the tugboats were done taking the Oral Freeman to its regular mooring slip.

Carney said the U.S. Coast Guard helped out when the vessel lost power in the channel.

“There was two small boats, two 25-footers in the vicinity, and they assisted along with the Ken Eichner (ferry),” he said. “The Ken Eichner captain made up to the Oral Freeman, and they got it in the slip and offloaded the passengers.”

The passengers disembarked on the Ketchikan side. The incident had just occurred within the last hour, and Carney was not yet sure which direction the Oral Freeman had been headed when it lost power. He says the airport’s second ferry remains in service to take passengers to and from the airport.

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