Stranded casino ship freed itself from sandbar - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Stranded casino ship freed itself from sandbar

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The Escapade got safely back to its dock on Thursday, but on Wednesday it was stuck on a sandbar and looked like it wasn't going anywhere for a very long time.

The ship got stuck on the sandbar during its maiden voyage. A tugboat was called out to attempt to help push and pull the vessel, but that did not work.

The captain also tried using the power from the ship, but that did not work either. Nothing did, until high tide Thursday afternoon.

"They were somewhat floating and had enough water around and they were able to notify the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard gave them permission, and they cranked up full power ahead and they were able to get off…slide off," Walter Rhame with Sea Tow said.

The Coast Guard said their salvage operations Wednesday helped shift the boat slightly, combined with an overnight high tide and the removal of about 120 passengers, the boat was put in a perfect position today to get free.

"We feel that all those circumstances were favorable to the mission that we had today with the self-help project with them working to get themselves off," Lt. Warren Fair with the U.S. Coast Guard said. 

One of the big questions was if the grounding damaged the ship at all. WTOC asked two men who were at the dock waiting for the ship to arrive and they said everything was OK; the ship is in good condition.

"He had enough water and the captain did a good job getting himself off there," Rhame said.

Rhame said if using the Escapade's power didn't work Thursday, the next step would have probably been to remove all of the fuel and water from it before trying to pull it off.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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