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1 killed, 3 injured when historic Maine schooner’s mast snaps

The Coast Guard is expected to investigate why the Grace Bailey’s mast snapped

Associated Press

ROCKLAND, Maine — The main mast of a historic excursion vessel splintered and fell onto the vessel’s deck on Monday, killing one person and injuring three others aboard the schooner Grace Bailey, officials said Monday.

A nearby Coast Guard vessel began evacuating the injured passengers within minutes of the mast’s catastrophic failure and collapse on the deck, which occurred while the vessel was returning from a four-day cruise, the vessel’s owner said in a statement.

One person died from injuries and three people were transported to hospitals on Monday, the Rockland Fire Department said. A helicopter transported one of the three injured, while the other two were transported to a local hospital, fire officials said.

Afterward, the vessel was towed into Rockland Harbor. Images posted online showed the vessel with the top of its main mast splintered.

The Grace Bailey is part of the state’s so-called windjammer fleet, a collection of sailing vessels that take people on excursions up and down the coast.

“My crew and I are devastated by this morning’s accident, especially since the safety of our guests is always our biggest priority. Most importantly, we are beyond heartbroken that we lost a dear friend,” the vessel’s captain, Sam Sikkema, said in a statement.

The boat’s operators said they had no idea why the mast failed. The Coast Guard will conduct a full investigation into the incident, they said. No names of the victims were released.

The Grace Bailey had posted images on social media earlier in the trip, including an image the day before of passengers carving pumpkins on the vessel.

The Grace Bailey’s overall length is 118 feet long (36 meters) and it can carry 29 passengers, according to its official website. It was built in Long Island, New York, in 1882.