UK & World News

  • 17 July 2014, 10:01

Passengers Rescued From Stuck Casino Boat

US Coast Guard have rescued passengers and crew from a casino boat which ran aground with 125 people on board during its maiden voyage off the coast of Georgia.

The Escapade became stuck with 94 guests and 31 crew at around midnight on Tuesday near Savannah.

Authorities tried to tow the boat on Wednesday,but several attempts failed when the lines broke.

Those on board were then put on to small boats and transferred to two cutters which took them to a Coast Guard station at nearbyTybee Island.

Some 114 people were able to board the small boats.

But four others who were unable to climb down the ladder had to be airlifted by helicopter, said the Coast Guard.

They were dropped off at Fort Pulaski National Monument.

Seven crew members remained behind on the stuck vessel.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Soto told Sky News the vessel was "stable" on a rocky bottom.

Coast Guardsaid an initial report from the crew suggested a malfunction of the navigation system was to blame.

One passenger on the 174ft-long (53m) boat told WTOC-TVearlier that all the passengers were wearing life jackets.

Another called his fiancee from the boat to say passengers were becoming frustrated waiting to be rescued.

"He just said everybody had been getting a little irritated from being out there overnight," Kia Murray, of Savannah, was quoted by CBS News as saying.

"But they're keeping them calm. ... He said they're giving them food and water."

Coast Guard said the vessel was operated byTradewinds Casino Cruises, which advertises itself as a place "where winners set sail".

Florida-based Tradewinds- which offers guests blackjack, roulette and poker - could not be reached for comment.

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