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First Attempt to Re-float Grounded BHI Ferry Fails; Investigation of Accident Underway

U.S. Coast Guard
BHI Ferry "Adventure" grounded on sand bar

The first attempt to recover the Bald Head Island ferry that slammed into a sand bar yesterday has failed.  At 10:30 AM, which was high tide Wednesday morning, crews tried to re-float the 64-foot passenger vessel “Adventure”.   

The Coast Guard has now shifted its focus from response to managing the recovery of the boat just off the coast of Southport. 

While Bald Head Island Transportation drafts a new salvage plan for the grounded vessel, the Coast Guard is concentrating on its probe into the cause of the crash.  Lieutenant Lane Munroe says there’s no way to predict how long the analysis could take.  

“When we do an investigation into an accident in the maritime environment – particularly an accident involving a commercial vessel, the Coast Guard wants to look at anything that may include a mechanical, electrical, weather or error of a person on board.  And then they’re also going to look at just the physical structure of the ship.”

Once the inquiry is complete, the report will be released to the public.   But until then, Munroe says the Coast Guard is working to ensure that there’s no further damage to ship and no harm to the environment. 

“So we’re going to be working in concert with the Bald Head Island Ferry as well as the local maritime community to make sure that everybody’s informed on what we plan to do in order to keep both the mariners and the environment protected.”

Yesterday at around 9:15 AM, the ferry ran into a sand bar near Battery Island while on the way to Bald Head from Deep Point Marina in Southport.  50 passengers and three crew members were on board. 

Immediately after the Tuesday morning accident, local emergency responders transported thirteen people to nearby hospitals.   One person was airlifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. 

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.