Passengers return to land at the Coast Guard station on Tybee Island, Ga., on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 after being stranded overnight on a casino boat that ran aground off the Georgia coast. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The Coast Guard says a casino boat has pulled loose without the help of a tow line from a rocky sandbar off the Georgia and South Carolina coasts after it ran aground during a passenger cruise.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen says the 174-foot cruise ship Escapade pulled itself free at high tide shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday, about a day and a half after its first cruise from Savannah.
The Coast Guard rescued 118 passengers and crew stranded aboard the stranded vessel Wednesday. Jorgensen said losing the weight of passengers likely helped the ship sit high enough in the water to free itself without help from tow boats.
She says the Coast Guard is inspecting the Escapade for damage before letting it return to its dock in Savannah.