Stranded casino ship frees itself, docks in Ga.

By RUSS BYNUMAssociated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - The Coast Guard says a casino boat has returned to its dock after pulling itself loose from a rocky sandbar off the Georgia and South Carolina coasts where it ran aground during a passenger cruise.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen confirmed Thursday the 174-foot cruise ship Escapade docked at its Savannah marina at 2:45 p.m. That was about two hours after the vessel pulled itself free at high tide a day and a half after becoming stranded late Tuesday during its first cruise from Savannah.

The Coast Guard rescued 118 passengers and crew stranded aboard the stranded vessel Wednesday. Jorgensen said losing the weight of passengers likely helped the ship sit high enough in the water to free itself without help from tow boats.

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