Lauren Dwyer-Mihlon of Little Silver says that Wednesday was just like any other day of the work week as she rode the 8 a.m. Seastreak ferry out of Highlands, much as she has for the last two years.
As her commuter ferry neared Pier 11 in Downtown Manhattan, she began to move to the front of the boat as usual to have quick access to the exit and, hopefully, a cab to take her to her office in Midtown.
Dwyer-Mihlon was standing near the boat's bow still inside around 8:50 a.m. when she says she remembers turning her head and noticing the approaching dock before she was tumbled into a row of nearby seats and was quickly covered by fellow passengers who fell on top of her.
"I couldn't breathe," she says, adding that all she could think of was freak baseball accidents when a player is killed by getting hit by a ball in the solar plexus. "That's how I felt."
Dwyer-Mihlon, who's married to Little Silver Councilman Dane Mihlon, was taken to Downtown Hospital and treated for bruised ribs, a sore neck and a torn off fingernail.
"It sounds silly but it got pulled right off and it hurt," she says of her bloody injury.
After the crash, Dwyer-Mihlon says her fellow passengers -- about 325 of them according to the Wall Street Journal -- seemed in shock. "There was no screaming," she remembers. "More like shock and some people were crying."
Mostly, passengers and crew sought to help those who were injured.
"We are simply shocked and stunned that this happened," according to statement posted on the Seastreak Web site. "We know passengers rely on us to provide safe transit on our boats - and safety is the number one concern for our company."
Will she be back on the ferry later this week? "Absolutely," she says quickly. "It's a civilized way to commute.
Seastreak officials say they are working with the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard to determine what happened.
"It was an accident," Dwyer-Mihlon adds. "It was crazy but a fluke thing."