Update: Dive tour boat heading to night trip grounds in Kona waters; 5 injured
May 26, 2023, 6:24 AM HST
* Updated May 26, 11:38 AM
A 35-foot fiberglass boat that ran aground in Kona waters Thursday night was identified as a tour vessel operated by Big Island Divers.
The captain was leaving Honōk
The fire department was alerted at 10:12 p.m. Before its emergency personnel or the U.S. Coast Guard arrived, another boater responded. While the tour vessel’s hull was badly damaged, it was able to operate under its own power.
The other boater escorted the Big Island Divers vessel to the harbor’s fuel dock, where they were met by Hawai‘i Fire Department. The first responders treated the injured people and transported them to Kona Community Hospital.
Big Island Divers, which has been operating in Kona since 1984, was still waiting for a report back from the U.S. Coast Guard and the crew about the events that transpired.
“Our condolences go out to the families of those injured,” a Big Island Divers employee said Friday morning.
The dive company offers a variety of ocean tours. Evening tours include night snorkel trips with manta rays, a dive trip with manta rays and a blackwater dive where the crew takes guests out to deep water about 2-3 miles offshore to observe wild animals of the deep sea such as ctenophores, siphonophores — animals closely related to the jellyfish — squid, octopus, hunting dolphins and sharks.
The tour company would not say which type of trip the boat was headed to when it grounded.
Meghan Statts, a spokesperson with the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, said the captain was able to bring the boat back into the harbor and it was removed at the ramp.
Hawai‘i Fire cleared the scene, which was turned over to the Coast Guard. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to with new information from the U.S. Coast Guard, Big Island Divers, Hawai’i Fire Department and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.