Veteran Captain ‘Daydreaming’ When Ferry Grounded – Report

Mike Schuler
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October 22, 2014

The Bald Head Island ferry “Adventure” ran aground December 17, 2013 while carrying approximately 53 passengers near Battery Island, N.C. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)

A veteran captain of a Bald Head Island ferry was likely daydreaming when his vessel ran aground in December 2013 in North Carolina, injuring 14 people, according to a U.S. Coast Guard Report of Investigation report obtained by local Star News Online.

gCaptain reported last year that the U.S. Coast Guard along with partner agencies responded December 17, 2013 to a report of multiple injuries after the Bald Head Island Ferry “Adventure” ran hard aground on a sand bar in the vicinity of Battery Island on the Cape Fear River near Southport, North Carolina. Of the 53 or so passengers onboard at the time of grounding, thirteen passengers and one crewmember sustained non life-threatening injuries in the accident.

U.S. Coast Guard Photo
U.S. Coast Guard Photo

According to Star News, the report said that “the master never realized or was aware how close he was from the sand bars near Battery Island since he never reduced speed or tried any actions to avoid the grounding… There is the likelihood that the master was lost in thought (daydreaming) behind the helm, since he cannot explain what occurred.”

The report said that a few minutes prior to the grounding, the Captain turned slightly to port to avoid a oncoming tugboat and never re-adjusted, Star News reports. The vessel was doing about 19 knots when it hit the sand bar, the report said.

The report added that the Captain had been subscribed medication due to the death of his dog and he admitted to taking one pill the day before the grounding, but investigators concluded the captain was not under the influence of any drugs at the time of the accident, Star News reports.

Star News says that the Captain has since decided to retire after 133,000 safe river crossings and 30 years of service.

More on this at Star News Online.

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