Rope Sinks Tour Boat

Ted Grupenhoff
Ted Grupenhoff
Luke Clayton
Luke Clayton

Oct 1, 2006 10:35 AM

By: Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - A tour boat captain plucks 15 people from the water after their dive boat suddenly sinks. We now know what caused the accident.

The Coast Guard found out a rope is at fault. And also tonight we heard from the tour boat captain who rushed to scene and quickly jumped into action.

The crew of the Kai Anela tossed out a rope to tie up to a mooring ball but it got caught on the propeller and ripped it off. That left a gaping hole in the boat.

Every day tour boats shuttle visitors to Molokini Crater for fantastic snorkeling.

But Friday a tour boat suddenly sank.

The call came in at 12:17pm when the captain said the vessel was taking on water.

Petty Officer Luke Clayton explains "What happened was they were putting a line around the mooring ball and it got wrapped around the prop. And when they tried to take it off they also took the prop off so water emerged into the boat."

The boat sank and 15 passengers were bobbing in the water.

According to Clayton, "Luckily the Good Samaritan ship Pineapple Express got on scene right away."

Pineapple Express Captain Ted Grupenhoff was first on scene, "I saw obviously the boat first and a lot of stuff floating in the water. Lot of people too. I was in disbelief. I said Oh my God."

Grupenhoff explains, "Most of the passengers weren't in life jackets. I understand the boat went down quickly but there was more than enough stuff to hold onto like boogie boards and things for people to hold onto."

The Captain of the rescue boat lowered his ladders and the victims climbed aboard. He says everyone was grateful, "The boat captain for sure and many of the passengers. It was a hectic scene but I think everyone of the passengers probably thanked me."

The tour boat rushed some passengers to a Coast Guard ship for first aid. Overall everyone was in good condition.

Maui dive shop will use floats to bring its boat to the surface Sunday.

The coast guard will continue its investigation.