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DLNR to start boat removal today

Updated: 
May 21, 2014 - 6:22am

State officials will begin dismantling a sailboat that ran aground in the Old Kona Airport Park on Wednesday.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation will work with Cates Marine Service to remove the intact grounded vessel “Seaquel” and dismantle it on land, a DLNR spokeswoman said.

An archeological monitor will be on site while mobilization and work is being performed. Once authorized, preliminary work should start on Wednesday with full mobilization underway by Thursday morning, surf conditions allowing.

The boat’s owners did not have insurance, DLNR said, so the state stepped in to perfom the emergency salvage.

A California man and a woman suffered minor cuts and bruises after the sailboat ran aground on the reef late Sunday evening off Old Kona Airport Park in Kailua-Kona.

Responding to the 11:55 p.m. report, Hawaii Fire Department rescue personnel arrived at the scene to find the Seaquel taking on water approximately 100 to 200 feet offshore fronting the southern-most pavilion at the county facility.

While rescue crews were responding, the man and woman aboard the vessel entered the water to attempt to swim to shore. They both made it to shore safely and reported no injuries to awaiting medics, according to police.

DLNR said the vessel had approximately 5 gallons of fuel on board when it ran aground.A U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said the vessel’s hull remained intact and no fluids had leaked.

DLNR Spokeswoman Deborah Ward said Monday that Division of Aquatic Resources staff cannot begin assessing the reef for damage until the boat is removed