The Coast Guard rescued 14 passengers from a ferry Saturday that had run aground at around 4 p.m. in the Sound approximately one mile south of Ocracoke.
The captain of the M/V Silver Lake, a 220-foot passenger and vehicle ferry, contacted Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Watchstanders approximately 5 p.m., reporting they had lost their steering. The ferry crew managed to maneuver the boat toward the shallow water near Big Foot Island where it softly and safely was grounded for the night.
There were no injuries reported.
A crew aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet unloaded the passengers and took them to the South Ferry Terminal. They were placed in lodging on the island for the night.
After leaving at dawn from Morehead City Sunday, a barge, The Royal Engineer, arrived early afternoon and successfully towed the boat into the harbor. The passengers were then able to retrieve their vehicles and take the next ferry to Cedar Island.
Today, the barge will tow the Silver Lake to the state shipyard to be repaired and inspected before returning to service.
“We have very detailed plans for when incidents like this occur, and they were followed to the letter,” said NCDOT Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. “The safety of our passengers and crews are our top priority at all times. We certainly apologize for the inconvenience these passengers had to deal with, but we are grateful that they are all safely back on shore. We want to thank the US Coast Guard for assisting us during this incident.”
Pamlico Sound ferries resumed their normal schedules Sunday morning