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Casino Boat Runs Aground Off Georgia Coast In Maiden Voyage

The Escapade grounded on a rocky bottom off the Georgia coast early Wednesday
U.S. Coast Guard
The Escapade grounded on a rocky bottom off the Georgia coast early Wednesday

The first passengers aboard a new casino boat turned out to have bad luck.

The Escapade, operated by Florida-based Tradewinds Casino Cruise, set out on its maiden voyage out of Savannah, Ga., on Tuesday night.

It ran around early Wednesday about 1.8 miles off Tybee Island, in the Caliboque Sound near the Georgia-South Carolina border, according to the Coast Guard.

"Its chart plotter had malfunctioned, causing the vessel to veer off course," reports the Savannah Morning News.

The Coast Guard has a response boat about 100 yards away, but can't get any closer due to low water levels. The Coast Guard hopes the 174-foot long Escapade can be refloated or towed at high tide, early Wednesday afternoon.

The boat is leaning but appears to be stable.

The 96 passengers and 27 crew members on board could be evacuated by helicopter if necessary. "But right now there are no medical concerns that would cause us to use that," Coast Guard Petty Officer First Class Lauren Jorgensen told The Associated Press.

Slideshows of photographs sent to local news outlets show passengers looking calm but bored. They are wearing life vests as a precaution.

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