Passengers taken to shore after 12 hours on stalled casino boat off Georgia coast

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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. — After more than 12 hours, passengers stranded on a casino boat that ran aground off Georgia’s coast were ferried to shore Wednesday aboard two Coast Guard cutters.

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Passengers return to land at the Coast Guard station on Tybee Island, Ga., after being stranded overnight on a casino boat that ran aground off the Georgia coast. More than 120 passengers and crew were aboard the Escapade casino boat when got stuck on rocks late Tuesday. The Coast Guard took them off the ship and onto rescue boats Wednesday afternoon.  ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Passengers return to land at the Coast Guard station on Tybee Island, Ga., after being stranded overnight on a casino boat that ran aground off the Georgia coast. More than 120 passengers and crew were aboard the Escapade casino boat when got stuck on rocks late Tuesday. The Coast Guard took them off the ship and onto rescue boats Wednesday afternoon.

About 94 of The Escapade’s 96 passengers and 27 crew members arrived at the dock shortly after 4 p.m., nearly 24 hours after the boat left for its maiden casino voyage Tuesday night. A second cutter carrying 20 more people arrived shortly afterward. Four people were ferried ashore by helicopter.

Some of the passengers rubbed their eyes as they walked slowly off the boat.

Passenger Michael Alcott, 39, from Savannah, said most of the passengers stayed calm and that the crew treated them well.

“The AC was blowing cold. They had food,” he said. Crew members fed the passengers hot dogs late at night and then served eggs and bacon in the morning, he said.

He said passengers slept on the floor using life jackets for pillows.

Initial attempts to tow the boat failed when the tow lines broke, so those aboard were transferred first to small boats that hold about eight people, then to the two larger vessels, Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen said.

Tara Sinclair, waiting at the Savannah dock for her mother, 66-year-old passenger Veronica Heyward, said her mom told her passengers had to “jump from the big boat to the little boat and then climb a rope ladder” onto the cutter.

“She called it a Fear Factor moment,” Sinclair said.

Jorgensen said the area where the boat was stranded was too shallow for the Coast Guard boats to pull alongside it.

The 174-foot-long Escapade was still stranded about 1.8 miles off the north end of Tybee Island in the Calibogue Sound near Hilton Head, S.C., the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard received reports that the vessel had run aground about midnight Tuesday, officials said. The initial report from the Escapade’s crew was about a malfunction of the chart plotter, part of the navigation system, Jorgenson told The Associated Press. But she said the Coast Guard hadn’t been able to confirm any malfunction yet.

The Escapade is a casino ship operated by Florida-based Tradewinds Casino Cruise. The company’s Facebook page said that Tuesday night was to be the maiden voyage for its Savannah cruise service and passengers were invited to board for free.

Tradewinds Casino Cruise did not immediately respond to phone messages left at the company’s Savannah office and its headquarters in Madeira Beach, Florida.

About 50 cars were in Tradewinds’ parking lot Wednesday afternoon. A security gate at the dock was closed, and a guard said he was the only employee there.

The casino boat’s first Savannah cruise was scheduled to run from 7 p.m. Tuesday until 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the company’s Web site. It describes the vessel as a three-story ship capable of carrying 500 passengers. It’s outfitted with slot machines, poker and blackjack tables and a roulette wheel.

Alcott said he felt the ship jolt when it ran aground about 9:30 Tuesday night. He said passengers continued to gamble for about three hours until they were told that they were stuck.

He and Cook both said the ship was listing at a sharp angle that forced people to walk leaning to one side, which Cook said left her with swollen ankles.

As she headed toward the buses that were shuttling passengers to their cars, Cook said she was ready for the experience to be over.

“I’m ready to go home and take a long, hot bath,” she said.

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fedex227
11187
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fedex227 07/16/14 - 09:29 am
8
0
Is this like the ultimate in ...
Unpublished

'bad luck' or what? "As if it wasn't bad enough I was having a crappy day at the blackjack table, all of a sudden ..."

Riverman1
87480
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Riverman1 07/16/14 - 09:30 am
8
0
Still Gambling

3 to 1 odds they are still gambling.

AFjoe
4023
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AFjoe 07/16/14 - 09:38 am
5
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Deadman's Hand

Pity the fool that draws aces & eights.

my.voice
4930
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my.voice 07/16/14 - 10:04 am
6
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You got to know when to hold

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.......know when to walk away, know when to run......... (you're humming it aren't you?)

bdouglas
5436
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bdouglas 07/16/14 - 11:11 am
2
2
1 to 1 odds they aren't gambling...

Gambling can't happen within 12 nautical miles (7.5 miles for you land-lubbers) of the low tide line, so they are certainly not gambling. This is why cruise ships don't open the casinos until after you leave any given port, since the country's jurisdiction ends at 12 nm.

Airman
3783
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Airman 07/16/14 - 11:48 am
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bddouglas

correction, they only have to be three miles offshore, then they are in international waters, this law was established:
Cruises used to be one of the few places you could find casino gambling in the United States outside of Las Vegas or Atlantic City. A cruise ship would leave port, and the casino would open as soon as the ship was three miles offshore in international waters. (The three-mile limit was set in the last century as the boundary of the United States because it was the maximum distance that shore-based cannons could fire.)

corgimom
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corgimom 07/16/14 - 12:02 pm
0
8
This is news? My dad used to

This is news?

My dad used to go on gambling boats back in the 1930's off of California. This isn't anything new.

Riverman1
87480
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Riverman1 07/16/14 - 12:37 pm
5
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Bdouglas, yep, you are right

Bdouglas, yep, you are right about the law although I'm not sure if it is 3 or 12, but I'll still bet they are gambling even it is only among themselves.

Riverman1
87480
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Riverman1 07/16/14 - 12:38 pm
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Corgimom, this boat has been

Corgimom, this boat has been going out from Savannah for many years.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 07/16/14 - 12:57 pm
4
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From Wiki

Since the mid-20th century, numerous nations have claimed territorial waters well beyond the traditional three-mile (5 km) limit. Commonly these maritime territories extend 12 nautical miles (22 km) from a coastline, and this was eventually established as the international norm by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. As a result, the three-mile limit has become largely obsolete. As of 2007, only Gibraltar, Jordan, Palau, and Singapore retain it.

justthefacts
22978
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justthefacts 07/16/14 - 01:22 pm
7
1
Seriously??

"This isn't anything new". Who said it was? The news is that it got stuck on rocks. I wonder if corgimom's dad's boat got stuck on rocks too?

corgimom
34627
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corgimom 07/16/14 - 02:23 pm
3
1
JTF, at that time my father

JTF, at that time my father was a very serious drinker, he wouldn't have known or cared, he would've been too drunk.

Little Lamb
47222
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Little Lamb 07/16/14 - 02:37 pm
2
2
Insanity

From the story:

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Authorities say they’ve tried several times to tow a casino boat that ran aground off Georgia’s coast, but the attempts failed when the tow lines broke.

Isn't this what Einstein was talking about when he said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

itsanotherday1
45610
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itsanotherday1 07/16/14 - 02:58 pm
2
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Yup LL, you would think they

Yup LL, you would think they either put several tugs/lines on it or just start unloading to raise (actually lower) the waterline.

burninater
9693
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burninater 07/16/14 - 03:12 pm
2
1
Tidal levels and current

Tidal levels and current strength/direction are constantly changing as tides and winds change -- it is extremely unlikely that the "multiple attempts" all occurred under identical conditions. It is also unlikely that the position of the casino boat was identical after each attempt.

Anyone that's stayed too long in Bull's Bay trying to get that one last redfish knows exactly what I'm talking about.

I suspect the Coast Guard knows its business better than the seat-warming internet comment crowd.

Little Lamb
47222
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Little Lamb 07/16/14 - 04:50 pm
2
2
Know their business

Obviously not, since they failed several times.

itsanotherday1
45610
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itsanotherday1 07/16/14 - 05:12 pm
0
0
If the Coast Guard is running

If the Coast Guard is running the effort, then 'nuff said on the ungrounding failures. Turn it over the private salvage operators with a bonus for quick work, and it will be off at the next high tide.

burninater
9693
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burninater 07/16/14 - 05:12 pm
2
1
LL, I am beginning to wonder

LL, I am beginning to wonder if you have ever tried to personally resolve a problem in physical reality.

Gage Creed
17968
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Gage Creed 07/16/14 - 05:13 pm
1
1
ALGORE

Kinda makes me wonder if AlGore is aboard....

Is the translation of Academik Shokalskiy, Escapade?

burninater
9693
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burninater 07/16/14 - 05:14 pm
1
1
"Turn it over the private

"Turn it over the private salvage operators with a bonus for quick work, and it will be off at the next high tide."
-----
Gee, why didn't the Coast Guard think of that?

Oh yeah. THERE ARE PEOPLE ON BOARD.

Gage Creed
17968
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Gage Creed 07/16/14 - 07:57 pm
2
0
Maiden Voyage...

Note to self...never sail on the maiden voyage of gambling boat out of Tybee...

bdouglas
5436
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bdouglas 07/16/14 - 11:07 pm
1
1
@Airman and @Riverman

I can assure you it's 12 nautical miles *today*. That info is straight from the NOAA.

itsanotherday1
45610
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itsanotherday1 07/17/14 - 12:12 am
4
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"Gee, why didn't the Coast

"Gee, why didn't the Coast Guard think of that?

Oh yeah. THERE ARE PEOPLE ON BOARD."

Uh, I already addressed that. If you would read rather than pick, you could keep up.

Young Fred
18262
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Young Fred 07/17/14 - 09:07 am
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Try not

to be too hard on Burn, his gut reaction forces him to turn to centralized authority for solutions to all problems.

Little Lamb
47222
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Little Lamb 07/17/14 - 09:30 am
0
0
:-)

Good one, Fred.

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