2 boats run aground on Outer Banks after possible collision

Two fishing vessels ran aground at Cape Hatteras National Seashore late February 2, and investigators suspect they collided before it happened.

Two fishing vessels ran aground at Cape Hatteras National Seashore late February 2, and investigators suspect they collided before it happened.

National Park Service photo

Two fishing vessels ran aground at Cape Hatteras National Seashore late Wednesday Feb. 2 and federal investigators suspect they collided just before it happened.

According to the National Park Service, five people were on board the boats at the time and all made it ashore safely.

Photos shared by the park on Facebook show the ships ended up on the Outer Banks beach just yards apart.

Conditions were foggy at the time, officials said.

“The vessels reportedly collided several times during the grounding,” the park reported.

The incident means there are now three vessels stranded at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the third being a 55ft yacht that ran stranded last week on Ocracoke Island. He has still to be removed and the cause of the grounding has not been disclosed.

Park rangers say the two boats that ran aground Wednesday are in northern Oregon Inlet, “about 0.8 miles south of off-road vehicle ramp 4 at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.”

One has been identified as a 35-foot-long vessel named Reel Lucky, registered in New Jersey, and the other is the 32-foot-long vessel Bite Me, registered in Pennsylvania, the park said.

Investigators did not say what time it happened, but alerts were posted on social media around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday February 2.

The cause remains under investigation. Wednesday evening’s forecast included “patches of fog”, which can limit offshore visibility in the dark.

The waters off the Outer Banks are considered dangerous for boaters, largely due to shoals created by the collision of north-south currents off North Carolina.

Islands have been known to appear and disappear in extreme cases, the most recent example being Shelly Island. It disappeared during a storm, about a year after its formation.

This story was originally published February 3, 2022 7:42 a.m.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering topics including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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