Onlookers scramble as ship crashes into dock

Posted at 1:26 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-01 11:49:09-04
SAN DIEGO -- An investigation was underway into what caused a cruise ship to crash into the seawall near its dock along the downtown San Diego water front Thursday, injuring three passengers.
The Adventure Hornblower struck the seawall off North Harbor Drive near West Broadway shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday, according to the Port of San Diego, across from the USS Midway Museum.  
“These guys were all standing right beside the captain, and said she was like, ‘I can’t get it out of gear, I can’t get it out of gear!’” said Judy Vratil, who was aboard the ship. 
 Five crew members and 139 passengers were aboard the 150-foot vessel at the time. Video showed the Hornblower just feet from nearly hitting an unsuspecting elderly woman on the dock. 

“And I started hollering for people to move,” witness Art Miner said. “You could tell there was no way he was going to stop. And then they started honking the horn, blowing the horn and people scattered.”

Three passengers were taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries of unknown severity, authorities said. An update on their condition was not immediately available.

“I was at the front,” said Karen Merrill, who was also aboard. “I was well braced and warning other people to sit down and hold their children and brace themselves.”

The Coast Guard responded and determined nothing hazardous had spilled into the water and Harbor police and engineers secured the seawall.
Port officials said crews would work diligently to repair the seawall and barrier railings as soon as possible.
This is not the first time the Adventure Hornblower has faced a mechanical problem. On Oct. 5, 2014, the Adventure Hornblower hit another tour ship, the Cabrillo, before slamming into the Broadway Pier. On Nov. 8, 2014, just days after the vessel was cleared to return to its normal operations, the Adventure lost all engine control, forcing the crew to manually manipulate the motor from the engine room to avoid a mishap on the water.
The U.S. Coast Guard determined both incidents were caused by error codes in the engine control system. 
Meanwhile, on Oct. 10, 2014, another ship, the Admiral Hornblower -- which used to be known as the Lord Hornblower -- collided with a San Diego Harbor Police boat that was docked. It relaunched in January 2015. 


-- Hornblower relaunches vessel after mishap
-- Hornblower Adventure's operations suspended after more safety issues arise
-- Former Hornblower captain claims several boats have engine control problems