By CONNIE LEINBACH
By CONNIE LEINBACH
The early morning ferry boat to Cedar Island was freed late this afternoon after spending all day stuck in sand in the ditch just in Ocracoke since shortly after it left the dock.
“I’ve never seen one stuck there before,” said Wilson Garrish, an Ocracoke native who braved the chilly and gust northeast winds this afternoon on the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching property near the entrance to Silver Lake to see the grounded boat M/V Carteret. “The wind is just keeping her there.”
According to N.C. Ferry Division spokesman Timothy Hass, seven passengers and six crew members were in the boat when it ran aground after departing the terminal at 7:30 a.m. No one was hurt, no one was in any danger, and there’s no apparent danger to the vessel, he said.
The tug boat Albemarle arrived around 1 p.m. to aid in the release. Pulling from the front for about a half hour did nothing. Then the crew tied up on the back of the ferry and began pulling that end.
“It’s not even budging,” noted Garrish.
After that attempt, the Albemarle released the ropes and went into Silver Lake Harbor to the dock.
“They will try again in about an hour,” Hass said around 3 p.m. “We need a little more water or a little less wind. We’re waiting for the tide to come in. Once the vessel is off the sandbar, it will return to Ocracoke to disembark passengers and vehicles.”
The ferry was finally freed just before 5 p.m. this afternoon.
Hass said there is a galley on the boat, and the crew fed the passengers lunch. The Ferry Division offered to take the passengers off the boat during the day, but all declined.
The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry had stopped running earlier in the day, he said.
Notices as to what ferries are running are updated on the N.C. Ferry Division’s Facebook page, Hass said.