The hydrofoil that transports passengers between Lewiston and Toronto lost its steering at 7 p.m. Saturday and struck four boats, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.
Niagara County sheriff's deputies said no injuries were reported in the incident. Coast Guard officials would not comment further Saturday night, saying the incident was still being investigated.
Boater Gary Tisdale, who was on the Niagara River at the time of the accident, said the hydrofoil was coming up the river at about 40 mph when it failed to negotiate a turn in the river and crashed into four boats that were moored near the Youngstown Yacht Club and Williams Marine.
"The hydrofoil was dead in the water and began drifting," Tisdale said Saturday night in an interview.
One of the boats it struck, a 32-foot sailboat, sank in about two minutes, he said. The other three boats that were hit were badly damaged, with one of them cut loose and drifting down the river, Tisdale said.
The Canadian Coast Guard helped bring the hydrofoil under control and anchored it in the lake, he said. Tisdale said none of the estimated 10 people on the Lewiston-bound Hydrofoil appeared to be injured.
The hydrofoil operation is part of Shaker Cruise Lines, which launched the service in June, using Russian-made hydrofoils.