Officials now say that a Charleston fireboat crashed into a harbor buoy during a rescue call this weekend.
The incident happened late Saturday night, while the fireboat Louis Behrens was responding to a stranded Navy patrol boat that crashed into a jetty during training exercises. However, fire officials said the rescue boat had to be saved itself and towed back to dock after striking an unidentified object.
Now the Charleston Fire Marshal’s Office says that investigators believe the 36-foot boat hit a buoy. In a statement, the office said fire officials examined audio recordings and initial information from the crew.
The U.S. Coast Guard will now take over the investigation, at the request of the Charleston Fire Department. Coast Guard officials said they will check to make sure the buoy’s light was working at the time.
“In order to ensure an unbiased review, and allow the Coast Guard to work through their process, we will not be able to provide any further details, comments, or access to the fireboat until the investigation has been completed. Upon completion we will provide an update on their results,” Charleston Fire Chief Karen Brack said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Navy patrol boat that created the rescue call has now sunk very close to where it crashed into the harbor’s south jetty while conducting training exercises Saturday. The Navy now says six of the boat’s crew were injured in the collision, up from an initial report of three. Three of those men have since been released from the hospital, while the others remain in stable condition, naval officials said.
The Louis Behrens is a relatively new vessel. It was christened in November and only began its service in January.