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Boston whale watching boat returns after stranding

BoatSnag.jpg

The Boston Harbor Cruises whale watch vessel was freed early Tuesday and was undergoing a final inspection before being allowed to return to shore with its 157 passengers, the Coast Guard said. (MyFoxBoston.com)

They weren't castaways, but like the tourists on Gilligan's Island, a group of whale watchers expecting only a three-hour tour got much more after their boat was snagged by a lobster trap rope off Massachusetts and they were forced to spend a long night at sea.

The Boston Harbor Cruises whale watch vessel was freed early Tuesday and docked at Boston's Long Wharf shortly after 8 a.m. No injuries were reported to any of the 157 passengers or six crew members.

"Everybody is safe and secure," said Sheila Green, a spokeswoman for the company that operates the vessel. She described passengers smiling and waving from the deck as the boat approached shore.

One of the boat's propellers became entangled Monday on the rope about 15 miles offshore. Divers hired by the vessel's owner succeeded in freeing the boat early Tuesday, Coast Guard Petty Officer MyeongHi Clegg told The Associated Press.

"They were able to untangle the line from the propeller," said Clegg.

Two Coast Guard cutters remained with the vessel during the night, she said, making sure the passengers were safe and that there were no medical problems.

Ken Maguire, one of the passengers on the boat, said they had expected to be back Monday around 4:30 p.m. but about 10 minutes into the return trip, the boat stopped after apparently hitting something.

Passengers will receive a refund on their $50 ticket, a $100 gift card for a future Boston Harbor Cruise and $500 cash for their troubles, Green said.

The passengers were given food and drink and blankets to stay warm, she said.

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