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'Guardian' grounded; extent of damage unknown
The extent of the repair ahead for San Juan County Sheriff's Boat Guardian has yet to be determined.
The Guardian ran aground on a submerged reef near Sinclair Island, just north of Cypress Island, Saturday, Sept. 8, while shuttling a San Juan Island EMS crew and three people injured in a golf cart rollover crash at about 1 a.m. on Decatur Island. The Guardian, piloted by a Sheriff's deputy at the time, was en route to St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham when it struck the reef roughly 45 minutes after leaving Decatur.
The deputy at the helm is licensed the U.S. Coast Guard as a captain, according to the Sheriff's Department.
After the Guardian ran aground, a Coast Guard cutter was dispatched from Bellingham to transport the three people injured in the golf cart crash to the hospital.
The Guardian was lifted off the reef with a rising tide later that day, an travelled under its own power to a boatyard in Bellingham for damage assessment. As of Thursday, Sheriff Rob Nou said the the department has yet to receive a detailed list of the damage or the amount of repair that will be required.
Nou said injuries to those in the golf cart were non-life threatening and that the crash remains under investigation.
The Guardian, outfitted to serve as a marine ambulance, is regularly used to transport medical patients to the mainland throughout the San Juan Islands. In addition to the Guardian, the department has two other boats, a 28-foot Boston Whaler typically stationed on Orcas Island and used as the primary patrol boat, and a 19-foot vessel stationed on Lopez.