Kingston cable incident prompts systemwide check

"Cables at the Clinton and Mukilteo ferry docks and all other docks in the ferry system will be checked as a result of an accident Saturday in Kingston.At Kingston, which is at the receiving end of ferry traffic from Edmonds, two large cable systems broke, sending the 200,000 pound transfer span and apron plummeting into Puget Sound.A ferry worker, Ordinary Seaman Tim Seyl, 28, was standing on the span and fell into the water. Ferry customer Lars Johnson of Poulsbo and State Ferries terminal employee John Robison rescued Seyl. The accident occurred at 10:30 a.m. as the Puyallup was approaching the dock. The ferry had to wait for three hours to unload its passengers and vehicles. Full service was restored early Saturday afternoon.State Ferries will hire forensic engineers to assist the agency in determining what caused the two cable systems to break. We can only speculate on what happened until our investigation is complete, said Russ East, director of terminal engineering, in a ferry system news release issued Monday.East said this type of accident has never happened before. All that is known is that the five-eighths-inch hoist cable and two sets of one-and-one-quarter-inch counterweight cables broke. The counterweight cable was 13 years old and was inspected quarterly and greased every eight weeks. The hoist cable was three years old and greased last Thursday.The transfer span and towers were lifted out of the water by barge Sunday and transported to the Manson Construction Yard in Seattle for inspection. Ferry engineers doubted the 22-year-old traffic span and apron were salvageable. Estimated cost of repairs is between $1.5 million and $2 million, East said.All ferry terminal cables throughout the system will be inspected within the next few weeks, East said. "

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