Man aboard boat that struck San Francisco passenger ferry dies 

An Oregon man aboard a motorboat that collided with a ferry on San Francisco Bay over the weekend died as a result of the accident, which is currently under investigation, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.

Harry Holzhauer, a 68-year-old from Tigard, Ore., was one of two men traveling in a 22-foot motorboat that struck the MS San Francisco, a Golden Gate Transit ferry carrying 500 people Saturday.

The accident happened just after 4:30 p.m. near Raccoon Straits, the area of the Bay between Tiburon and Angel Island. Holzhauer, who was reportedly at the controls of the motorboat, succumbed to his injuries at 5:22 p.m. the same day, Coast Guard Lt. Mark Leahey said Monday.

Previous reports indicated that Holzhauer and the other passenger had been transferred to Marin General Hospital after the crash. The other motorboat passenger, whose identity has not been released, remains hospitalized with serious injuries, according to the Coast Guard.

The five-member crew of the MS San Francisco was tested for drugs and alcohol and placed on administrative leave — standard protocol following an accident, said Mary Currie, spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which operates the ferry service. Four of the crew members have since returned to work, but the captain of the vessel remained on leave Monday, Currie said.

In a release Saturday, Currie said that the motorboat was reportedly traveling at very high speeds prior to the crash. After the crash, the MS San Francisco was taken out of service, but the ferry did not suffer any structural damage, and it was back on the water by Sunday morning, Currie said.

Lisa Spitalewitz of San Francisco was seated on the lower deck of the ferry at the time of the incident. She said the collision between the two vessels created a sudden jolt aboard the ferry. When she looked down on the water, she could see two men struggling in the motorboat, which was caved-in at the front.

“It definitely looked like the motorboat rammed into the ferry,” Spitalewitz said. “The windshield was all cracked on the boat and both men were bleeding pretty heavily. It was a pretty frightening scene.”

Spitalewitz said a surgeon and a nurse onboard the ferry volunteered to help the two men.

“They both jumped pretty quickly onto the motorboat,” Spitalewitz said. “There were a number of people on the ferry that volunteered to help.”

Leahey said the Coast Guard expects to release a detailed report about the accident later this week. The agency’s investigation will determine who was at fault for the accident and whether speed played a factor in the collision, he said. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office is also investigating the incident.

None of the passengers on the ferry sustained injuries. The accident happened while the vessel was about 10 minutes into its regular 30-minute run from Sausalito to San Francisco. The ferry service makes six round-trip journeys between San Francisco and Sausalito on the weekends and nine trips on a weekday.

Currie said it’s the first fatal accident she can recall involving a Golden Gate ferry vessel.

“I’ve been here 23 years and I can’t remember anything like this ever happening,” Currie said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Will Reisman

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