16 injured on fjords tour

Cruise turns rocky

Posted: Sunday, July 16, 2000

Sixteen passengers were injured Tuesday when their Kenai Fjords Tours boat struck a rock on in Resurrection Bay.

when their clients were treated and released for injures they suffered after their .

Tom Tougas, president of Kenai Fjords Tours, said the 95-foot boat sustained a blown circuit breaker more than five hours into the six-hour tour.

Because the vessel's engine is electrically controlled, he said, the tour boat began to drift through the water and struck a rock at 4:45 p.m. Tougas said there was no foul play involved.

"It was purely a mechanical failure," he said.

A second Kenai Fjords Tours boat was nearby and, all passengers on the damaged boat were able to transfer and get back to port safely, Tougas said. A mechanic was able to fix the electrical problem and the vessel returned to port under its own power.

All injured passengers were treated and released at Seward medical facilities, according to Dan Pavlik, chief warrant officer with the U.S. Coast Guard, who said the accident occurred inside Cape Resurrection in Resurrection Bay.

The Coast Guard arrived on the scene at 9:30 p.m. and found a portion of the bow crushed in about half an inch , with other damage consisting of minor gouging and scraping of the gel coat, exposing the Fiberglas mat underneath.

"Damage was not significant," Pavlik said, estimating it to be less than $1,000.

Pavlik said the minor damage did not affect the seaworthiness of the vessel.

All reports indicated that passengers of the vessel were notified prior to hitting the rocks and that they had time to brace themselves, he said.

The 16 injured clients sustained mostly minor cuts and bruises, with some complaints of neck and back pain, he said.

Tougas said in the 24 years of operation of the tours, Tuesday was the first time he had witnessed this kind of situation.

"It doesn't happen very often," he said.

No passengers were available for comment.

A Coast Guard investigation is still in progress.

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