A group of tourists were left floating in the ocean after a night dive when their allegedly drunk boat skipper abandoned them
A tour boat captain in Hawaii was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant after allegedly abandoning tourists in the ocean.
Spencer Erwin was the captain onboard a tour boat operated by Iruka Hawaii when he ditched his passengers roughly 30 yards from the shore.
The group of thirty tourists had been snorkelling in a popular manta ray spot on the evening of March 5 when they resurfaced to discover that their boat Sea Wolf and her skipper were nowhere to be found.
Another tour operator rescued the stranded tourists and the US Coast Guard was alerted to the missing boat shortly after 9pm.
Aloha Kona Tours’ Pononui Lealao said: “When they were done with the tour, they didn’t have a boat to go back to. The guy went out and I don’t know what happened, he just disappeared.”
“At that time, nobody knew where the other vessel was, where the captain was.”
Mr Erwin and the boat were later found drifting offshore and the vessel was towed to Honokohau Harbor.
He was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant and has been released pending further investigations.
Tour company Iruka Hawaii said: “We are currently suspending our tours in Kona until we can wholeheartedly know that such an occurrence will not happen again. We are doing a complete review of our procedures, policies, and protocols.”