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Anderson Island Ferry closure impacts hundreds

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STEILACOOM, Wash. -- People living on Anderson Island have been without ferry boat service for nearly 24 hours. Some people there say tensions are a little high as the inconvenience impacts the 1,500 people living on the island.

One mother-daughter duo made their way across via fire rescue boat.

“There’s a lot of people waiting, it’s not the greatest.”

Erin Babbo, a Communications Specialist for Pierce County, says people know what to expect.

"Islanders know that there is a system and there's channels for communication, so people knew pretty quickly that there was a problem last night."

Around 5 p.m. Sunday, a contracted crew noticed the Anderson Island ferry boat dock apron was stuck in the down position as two of the hinges were not working.

"The boat needs to be able to pull away. So if the ferry dock is down, it does not allow it to pull away," Babbo explained.

Officials pulled the boat from operation until the issue is fixed, keeping those living on the island there and leaving visitors without a boat home.

"People aren't always gonna like the information given to them, but if you give it to them they can make choices about their own travel."

Crews with Anderson Island Fire Rescue have been doing their part to lessen the burden, running their fire rescue boat back and forth.

“We were back down at the boat expecting a crowd at 6, and there wasn’t a big demand whatsoever.”

Islander David Britt says it's just part of living on the island.

“I’ve been out here 27 years it's just, you flow with it, you go with it. It happens sometimes.”

And that “go with the flow mentality” is one Kristi Nipert and her daughter Julia are begrudgingly adopting Monday.

“Looks like we have a 3 hour and 22 minutes of bus rides and walking.”

The pair took a fire boat over to the Steilacoom side.

“Not a lot of people can say I’ve been rescued off a stranded island by a fire boat, so just that I can say that, I mean that’s pretty cool.”

Crews continue to weld the apron latches back together to restore full working order. Officials hope to have the ferry running again later Monday.

 

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