Nine Injured in Weekend Boating Accident

Nine people were injured Sunday night when a pleasure boat ran into a sunken barge at Chambers Island, according to Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel.

Emergency responders from the Gibraltar and Ephraim Fire Departments ferried 14 people ashore, while one person was taken from the scene by the Eagle III rescue helicopter out of Green Bay with a severe cut to the knee. The others transported from the scene were for “quite minor” injuries, Vogel said.

The Door County Sheriff’s Department, Department of Natural Resources, and the United States Coast Guard also responded to the accident, which occurred at about 9:20 pm May 29.

Gibraltar Fire Chief John Stahl said the 43-foot Morpheus, a boat registered to Robert Greisser of De Pere, ran into a barge that has been sunk off the island for at least 10 years. The Morpheus went up and over the barge in the collision. The barge was made into a dock for a lumber company that was logging on the island and is surrounded by steel sheet pilings, similar to what is seen on many piers along the shore of Door County. Stahl said the deck of the dock rises about four feet above the water’s surface.

The captain of the boat (whose name was not released) told the Coast Guard that he was showing passengers the north side of the island and mis-judged the distance to the barge, according to Lieutenant Casey Steuer, Coast Guard Public Affairs Officer.

The boat did not sink, was recovered and brought to Yacht Works in Sister Bay Monday.

The United States Coast Guard is handling the investigation of the incident, but officials could not be reached for comment.