15 people injured when party cruise crashes at Carolina Beach

CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – Emergency crews responded to an accident involving a large party cruise boat in Carolina Beach Friday night.

See more photos of the party boat crash
See more photos of the party boat crash

15 people were injured when the Royal Winner Princess II hit the Carolina Beach Wildlife Fishing Pier shortly before 9:30 p.m., according to U.S. Coast Guard officials.

All of the injuries were reportedly minor, six people were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Coast Guard officials said they had minor bruises and cuts and were treated and released Friday night.

“We were almost to Snow’s Cut Bridge when we felt a big jolt,” said Joellyn Cochran, a passenger of the boat. “The boat didn’t make the turn. It immediately turned around and went back to dock.”

According to NC Wildlife Officer Cody Walker, 159 people were on board at the time. Coast Guard officials said the crash happened after the vessel lost steering within the first 30 minutes of what was supposed to be a three hour trip.

The captain of the Royal Winner Princess II, Captain Chad Winner, told officers that the steering pump went out on the boat and a current pushed him into the boat ramp. He said he had to flip a breaker to get the pump to turn back on.

The boat regained steerage at that point according to Coast Guard officials and returned to dock. Passengers remained on board until shortly after 11 p.m. while crews worked to make sure everyone was accounted for and got information for the incident report.

There was minor damage to the bow of the vessel, according to Coast Guard officials. They said the boat did not take on any water and no pollution was reported.

Walker said the captain was given a breathalyzer test and alcohol did not play a role in the accident.

People on board were refunded their money from the cruise.

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