Coast Guard continues investigation into Escapade incident - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Coast Guard continues investigation into Escapade incident


More details have emerged as to what may have caused the Escapade casino cruise ship to run aground off the coast of Tybee Island on Wednesday.

The Coast Guard said initially the ship reported a malfunction in the navigation system, but the Coast Guard won't be able to confirm the actual cause until the investigations are complete.

Nearly two days after being stranded, the Escapade began its trek back home. The ship was able to get itself free during high tide just after noon on Thursday.

Coast Guard officials were on board, continuing to investigate what caused the nearly 200 foot vessel  to get stuck on the sandbar off the coast of Tybee on Tuesday night, an investigation that started on Wednesday and will continue until answers are found.

"They'll look at a myriad of different things," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Warren Fair. "Everything from charts that were used, logs that were on, personal interviews with the captain, personal interview with the crew, the navigation system; they'll take all that into consideration to do a very thorough and robust investigation to find out exactly what led to this."

New pictures showed the rescue of more than 120 passengers and crew members from the Escapade, and on Thursday the Coast Guard is calling the operation a success.

The Coast Guard said Wednesday's successful evacuation of everyone stranded on the ship is a testament to the people in the Coast Guard.

Video taken by the Coast Guard showed how they ferried more than 120 passengers and crew members from the stranded casino ship to two smaller vessels in order to get them safely back to shore.

Four passengers had to be transported by helicopter, but overall, the Coast Guard said everything went according to plan.

"There were no clips, trips and falls," said Fair. "No one was injured during the evacuation process. We got everyone back to the dock, you were able to see people when they came back. Some of them were happy and relieved to be back. Some of them were visibly frustrated from being stranded, but everyone was relieved to be off the platform and back on dry land. That just goes to the professionalism to the Coast Guard crew and the other government agencies out there helping."

The Coast Guard said sometimes these investigations take months, but they said the ship appears to be in good condition and not damaged.

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