Sternwheeler, pirate ship collide at local festival - KPTV - FOX 12

Sternwheeler, pirate ship collide at local festival

Posted: Updated: July 13, 2012 11:06 PM

A sternwheeler crashed into a pirate ship on the Columbia River on  Friday while attempting to pull up near a dock at the Maritime Heritage Festival in St. Helens.

Fortunately, no one was hurt despite a majority of the crew still being on board both boats.

Witnesses said the current was stronger than usual on the Columbia, and that it likely played a role in what happened.

At one point, the captain of the sternwheeler realized the boat was coming into the dock too strong and tried to reverse, but it was too late, according to witnesses.

"The dock even kind of shook, it was crazy," said witness Brent Violette.

When the sternwheeler crashed into the ship, Violette said, its rudder punctured a large hole in the vessel below water level, and  the ship instantly began taking on water.     

"I was backing up from the edge of the dock, because I could see the pinch point, and I was going to grab onto boat behind me, I didn't know how long the dock was going to last," said Violette.

"If it would have cut the dock in half there would have been at least 30 people floating in the Columbia," said Violette.

At last check, no citations had been issued in the wreck.

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