Investigations into a fatal commuter ferry crash in New York that left ten dead and dozens injured have focussed on reports that the pilot had lost consciousness just before the accident.

US Federal investigators were waiting to interview the pilot, Richard Smith, who was recovering from emergency surgery after a reported suicide attempt following the crash.

The three-tier ferry, Andrew J Barbieri, with around 1,500 people on board slammed into a pier at Staten Island in strong winds yesterday afternoon.

However, some passengers have suggested that speed and not weather conditions was a major factor.

New York's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, described the accident as a terrible tragedy. However, he would not be drawn into speculation on the cause and said there was no other information at this time.

It was the worst accident in the ferry service's 98-year history. A similar incident in 1995 injured 18, but nobody was killed.