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In Sunday's edition of the Empire there appeared a letter from Merry Ellefson in which she stated that the accident involving the Fairweather and a cruise ship in Skagway was an "unfortunate accident." I could not disagree with her more.
The accident was not unfortunate. Everyone involved was very fortunate. Ms. Ellefson may not realize that 2.5-inch double-braided nylon line breaks with something around 300,000 pounds of foot pressure. This is sufficient force to cut through any living thing in its path. Everyone on both vessels is very lucky that they were not in the path of those breaking lines, which, if I guess correctly, were larger in diameter than 2.5 inches.
I would also like to address the subject of wind in Southeast Alaska. It is not a phenomenon to which we are not accustomed. Every time I have been to Skagway it has been windy. Sometimes it is more so than others. However it is not as if 30 knots is all that much.
The fast ferry was never designed or intended for use in Southeast Alaska and the experiment is failing. How many more accidents do we need with this bad idea before someone really gets hurt, or worse, dies because of an "unfortunate accident?"
Kill the ferry. Build the road.