Crews return to attempt to tow grounded casino cruise ship - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Crews return to attempt to tow grounded casino cruise ship


Crews are back out about two miles off of Tybee Island, trying to get the Escapade casino cruise ship off of a sandbar.

The ship has been stuck there for almost 24 hours, but the Coast Guard was able to evacuate all of the passengers from the ship on Wednesday afternoon.

Rescuers tried to tow the ship out of the sand bar on multiple occasions, but each time the tow line snapped.

Rescuers are back out on the scene, readying for high tide at 1 a.m. on Thursday, to attempt to free the vessel from the sand and mud.

They said they may be able to get more aggressive now that the ship is empty of its passengers, with the exception of seven crew members.

As for the passengers, we are learning now a little bit more about the conditions they went through.

"The only dry land that I know of that the water just left was the parting of the Red Sea, and I knew we were not there," said passenger Veronica Snowden-Heyward.

"When I looked at and saw the land and I didn't see no water," said DJ Trick. "I will always remember that."

It was nearly 20 hours of waiting, not sure when they would be rescued on how long they would be trapped.

"We were about an hour into the gambling and all the sudden we just felt a giant jolt," said Randy Hill.

The ship ran aground late Tuesday night, and all attempts to free the boat on Wednesday failed. Meanwhile, on the boat, one of the problems was food supply. They didn't plan to feed over 100 people.

"We ate crackers and drank water because they ran out of food on the boat, so that was fun," said Robert Dellaquila.

"Once we ran ashore, they started passing out waters and they ran out of those real quick," said Hill.

Many people said they played cards, tried to sleep or talked to loved ones. The boat didn't have a liquor license, so no alcohol was served.

"The gambling machine was cut off at one point, so you could not gamble the entire night," said George Ransom.

"Everyone was gambling until like one in the morning, and the boat was supposed to be back by 12:30 a.m., so we knew something was up," said Dellaquila.  

Many people said the crew was very helpful and kind, but others were as happy.

"My biggest complaint and frustration was that they would not give us any information that was concrete that we could go on," said Hill.

"I think there are a lot of safety issues," said Debbie Dinicola. "I think there are a lot of things that could have been done different. I think there is some training that needs to be done with some of the employees. They need to have a routine, that if something happens, they know what to do and not walking around saying ‘I don't know.'"

The real attempt to get the ship out will be around 1:30 a.m., when high tide rolls in. Only seven crew members remain onboard to monitor what is happening on the ship.

Only one person was taken to the hospital during the whole incident, and they are expected to be ok.

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