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BHI FERRY UPDATE: Ship ran aground, 13 passengers hurt

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SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- A Bald Head Island ferry ran aground near Battery Island this morning, throwing passengers around the boat.

Chris Reavis was on the ferry headed to work when the man next to him noticed something in the water.

"One of them looked over and said 'What is that?' As soon as I looked over we just hit the sandbar,” he said.

The Coast Guard says 53 people were aboard the 64-foot Adventure around 9 a.m. heading from Southport to Bald Head Island.

According to a Brunswick County spokeswoman 13 people were taken to regional hospitals. One victim had to be flown to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with potentially serious injuries.

"Everybody was hollering and yelling. We had people bleeding,” said passenger Eddie Almond.

Early on, it was reported the wreck caused at least five passengers to fall into the water, but that information was later amended.

Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders issued a marine assistance request broadcast and dispatched crews aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat and a 25-foot Response Boat - Small from Coast Guard Station Oak Island and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Bayberry to assist.

The Coast Guard said the crew of the Bayberry used their shallow water skiff to medevac 14 passengers from the Adventure and transfer them to the 47-foot MLB and the 25-foot RB-S. The crews aboard the two rescue boats then took the injured passengers to Deep Point Marina.

Partner agencies from Bald Head Island, Towboat US and the Brunswick County Sherriff's Office helped recover the non-injured passengers and transferred them to the Bald Head Island Ferry Ranger.

The Coast Guard is investigating into what caused the crash.

"It could be anything as a cause and we are going to look into all those causes,” said Lt. Lane Munroe, the Command Center Chief of Coast Guard Sector North Carolina.

Ferry service was suspended for several hours but resumed around 1 p.m.

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Bald Head Ferry

Always expect the unexpected. Operating a boat is just like driving a car. Accidents do Happen. I have boated in that area for over 40 year's. Even with all electronics, I rely mostly on the Seaman's Eye. Yes, I have run aground several times in smaller boats. My current boat gives me a higher view from the upper helm. I am constantly watching the water conditions, referencing landmarks, other traffic, etc. When boating always maintain 360 degrees of observation and never assume....A Word to the Wise Should be Sufficient.

Wind

I am down here at Oak Island, you can see Bald Head from my back porch. The wind was fierce and gusting yesterday. I have been on that ferry and if the pilot doesn't make significant compensation for the wind, he can get blown right out of the main channel. That is my guess-pilot error compounded by gusting winds.

Grounding

There are two kinds of captains: those that have ran aground and those who will. Likely a simple distraction here. Sorry to hear the news.

Uh oh!

I was born in Southport and have been navigating that River for nearly 40 years. From the looks of the angle of impact, the Captain may have been giving way to a larger vessel and cut it close before the bar was visible. There is still NO plausible excuse for this happening, unless it were a mechanical failure. The Channel is wide enough for a 450ft ship, and the Adventure!

On another note....these clowns need to learn to show some respect in the River, you don't own it Bald Head! Most of us have learned to navigate defensively around these BHI boats however, someone is going to get killed by one of them, just a matter of time. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have seen a BHI Ferry nearly sink, or beach a small craft. s

Glad nobody died and wish a speedy recovery for those injured. I also wish for a speedy investigation, more training, and a little bit of courtesy on the water.

ferry grounding

I am USGC Master Captain, I have been sailing these waters for 10 years,I have
ran aground there myself. It is outside the marked channel. I have watched many commerical traffic cut the 16 marker buoy there many times. This is a foul up big time!!

BHI Captain

I have known the Captain of this vessel for a very long time, both personally and professionally. He is a Skilled Professional and very conscientious. Let's wait and see what caused the accident before casting judgement.

I agree with David

I agree with David Tomlinson, above. This ferry captain is a good and honorable man. I have placed my life in his hands and those of his mates on many occasions. Please wait for the investigation before spreading rumors or making judgments which could destroy a reputation.

Wait and see what happened?

Well...okay. Let's wait and see that he was waaay out of the channel and ran her high and dry on a sandbar with passengers on board. Sand bars like this one just don't appear overnight. Those are fast ferries and they push them hard, this one was pushed way too hard in way the wrong place!

"Woooopsie! Dammit, I knew I shouldn't have been texting at full throttle!"

I agree. I heard the vhf

I agree. I heard the vhf radio calls the Captain made today. He handled this situation like the skilled professional that he is. The conditions between Southport and Baldhead can be challenging. There are many factors that could have caused this accident and it is early to make a conclusion now. The Captain on the Adventure is one of the best in the area.

Captain Rodney

I have been on Captain Rodney's crossings for 33 years and always have sensed his supremely capable skippering skills.This includes bad winter storms, hurricane evacuations, and very busy river traffic.
Our three children ages 27,25,&20 have all been placed in Rodney' s care many times with us.
I too wil hope for the investigation to illucidate what happened on this day. However must say I will be very surprised if the cause was pilot error.

All aboard

Time for a ride on the fail boat.

Ferry grounding

If you are a boater, most likely you have done something as dumb or dumber than this! I spent a nice afternoon on a sandbar in Rich Inlet a couple of years ago. No big deal! -embarrassing as heck though-no where to hide!

Capt. Crunch goofed big time!

Don't get much higher and dryer than that grounding! Geeeez! G'bye captains license! I hear the Scotchman's hiring.

I operate my motoryacht in

I operate my motoryacht in these waters frequently. There is a known, large sand bar there - been there for years. The captain was either not paying attention or trying to cut the channel. If you are following the channel properly this cannot happen. Be interesting to see. What a shame.

Motor yacht? Damn I'm sure

Motor yacht? Damn I'm sure you have never seen a bar move or shift either, I guess that is why they never dredged channels anymore.

OMG they beached it...

can't wait to hear how they beached that Ferry.. BOY it is *beached*...

Beached

The boat hit the sand bar when it was still below the water line (barely visible). The tide went out and the boat is completely high and dry. Gets a lot more attention using this photo than one right after it happened.

Way out of the channel.

Way out of the channel. These guys are usually very good but no excuse on this one!