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Crew removes boat that ran aground on the reef off Kona

Updated: 
May 23, 2014 - 8:23am

A crew working for the Department of Land and Natural Resources removed a 40-foot sailboat from the shoreline Thursday.

The crew attached heavy equipment to the Seaquel at about 10:30 a.m.

A department spokeswoman said the boat owner would not be cited for the incident that left his vessel on rocks fronting Old Kona Airport Park. DLNR will try to recover the costs of the removal — which she did not provide — from the owner.

Kailua-Kona resident John Dour, who has a sailboat, watched the cleanup efforts. Dour, who was taking photos Thursday for sailing magazine Latitude 38, said he spoke with the owner. The California resident had wintered in Mexico, Dour said, then decided to head to Hawaii.

“He decided he wanted to do the big trip,” Dour said.

The owner reportedly checked in in Hilo, then headed around Hawaii Island. Sunday night’s rough surf proved to be too much, Dour said, knocking the boat off course and into the rocks.

The Seaquel wasn’t salvageable, Dour said.

“It’s a catastrophic delamination,” he said, explaining that the fiberglass layers had separated while the boat sat on the rock. “There’s no way they can fix it.”

The owner earlier this week declined to speak with a West Hawaii Today reporter.

Dour said it looked like someone had looted the boat on Wednesday. Missing items included winches, the steering wheel and the navigational system.

“It’s just a damn tragedy,” Dour said of the wreck.

DLNR officials were waiting for the boat to be removed before sending staff to check for reef damage.

Cates Marine Service performed the boat removal.