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Coast Guard's quick response helps out Maui tour boat

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:31 a.m. HST, Jul 12, 2011

The Coast Guard rescued 25 people who were on a tour boat that hit some rocks near a cave entrance off Maui on Sunday.

The incident occurred at 8:26 a.m. at La Perouse Bay on the southeastern coast of the island.

The crew of the Kanaloa, a 30-foot vessel, was backing into a cave when waves pushed the boat against some rocks, damaging the hull and one engine, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Soto.

A 45-foot, Maui-based Coast Guard response boat met with the grounded vessel around 9:30 a.m., and 18 passengers were transported to the Coast Guard vessel.

Five passengers went on a sister ship, Pineapple Express, and two remained on the Kanaloa, which the Coast Guard towed back to the Kihei boat ramp.

No one was injured, and no pollution was released into the water, Soto said.

The company owner also arrived on scene in his own 30-foot fishing vessel to help out.

The passengers were back on shore shortly after noon.

The Coast Guard said its response time was improved because the tour boat carried an emergency position-indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB.

"This is a good example of why EPIRBs are essential to mariners," said Andrew Statham, a Maui-based boatswain's mate.

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