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Tour Boat Hits Dock On Chicago River

Rescue workers carry off a patient at the scene of a tour boat accident on the Chicago River Monday. (Steve Miller/WBBM Newsradio 105.9)

Rescue workers carry off a patient at the scene of a tour boat accident on the Chicago River Monday. (Steve Miller/WBBM Newsradio 105.9)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Nine passengers were injured Monday when a tour boat collided with a dock on the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue. An engine problem apparently was to blame.

One hundred and fifty people were on the popular Wendella boat tour taking an evening cruise when suddenly the boat slammed into a concrete dock near the Michigan Avenue bridge at about 5:30 p.m.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller Reports

“Just as we about got there, a guy from the engine room jumped out and said, ‘Hold on!’” passenger Tom O’Brien said. “We hit with tremendous speed.”

“It was bam! The people just flew forward,” another passenger, Joyce Sellers, said.

The Chicago Fire Department said nine injured passengers were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The boat, Lila, was launched in Rhode Island in June. It’s only been in Chicago since Friday, and its captain has 30 years of experience, a Wendella spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for the tour company tells WBBM Newsradio the captain usually coasts in with a little help from the motors but the power went dead and he lost control. She said injuries ranged from head trauma to twisted ankles to cuts and bruises.

“Wendella, a third generation family-owned business that has been working on the Chicago River since 1935, is very concerned with the guests who were on board and extends our well wishes,” the company said in a written statement.