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.