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California newlyweds ABANDONED during a snorkeling trip on their Hawaiian honeymoon and forced to swim to shore sue tour company for $5M after it miscounted the passengers on their boat

  • Alexander Burckle and Elizabeth Webster booked the trip for September 2021 
  • They faced turbulent waters and were abandoned by the touring company 
  • They’re suing for $5million after alleged negligence made them fear drowning

A Hawaii tour company is being sued for $5million because a couple claims they were left marooned in the ocean during one of the company’s snorkeling trips.

Alexander Burckle and Elizabeth Webster booked the trip with Maui Sail Company for Lanai, a tiny island near Maui, in September of 2021.

While on the 10 a.m. expedition from Lahaina Harbor in Maui with 42 other passengers, who had been told they would anchor the boat in one location while they went snorkeling, they went out into the ocean.

The couple faced turbulent water that were becoming ‘choppy’ and they were unable to make progress toward the vessel and saw it eventually desert them as they called for help.  

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‘They feared that drowning was imminent,’ the couple claimed in their lawsuit against Maui Sail.

Alexander Burckle and Elizabeth Webster (pictured) booked the trip with Maui Sail Company for Lanai, a tiny island near Maui, in September of 2021

Alexander Burckle and Elizabeth Webster (pictured) booked the trip with Maui Sail Company for Lanai, a tiny island near Maui, in September of 2021

The couple desperately tried to stay afloat but their efforts led them into even deeper, more troubled waters.

The suit alleges that they were facing waves up to eight feet high and realized that swimming to the island, which tour guides had advised against, was their only way to survive. 

They ‘were beginning to panic and were struggling to swim in the ocean conditions,’ they added in the litigation. 

Fortunately, the couple was able to get to the shore of the Lanai island but were in bad shape, claiming in the suit they were ‘fatigued and dehydrated.’ 

They turned to some traditional methods of getting attention for a rescue, including writing ‘SOS’ and ‘HELP’ in the island sand.

They were later found and given water and the use of phones by local Lanai residents, identified as RJ and Shra Sanches. 

The suit argues that when Webster got in touch with Sail Maui, they admitted they did not notice anyone was missing from the tour. 

They said the first mate made three head counts and twice had said that they were two people short of the 44 guests before counting a third time and incorrectly saying all 44 were on board. The crew had not forced everyone to stay in place and were left to count people moving around below deck.

Fortunately, the couple was able to get to the shore of the Lanai island but were in bad shape, claiming in the suit they were 'fatigued and dehydrated.'

Fortunately, the couple was able to get to the shore of the Lanai island but were in bad shape, claiming in the suit they were ‘fatigued and dehydrated.’

Sail Maui is being sued for $5million because a couple claims they were left marooned in the ocean during one of the company's snorkeling packages

Sail Maui is being sued for $5million because a couple claims they were left marooned in the ocean during one of the company’s snorkeling packages

The suit alleges that Sail Maui left them facing waves up to eight feet high and realized that swimming to the island, which tour guides had advised against, was their only way to survive

The suit alleges that Sail Maui left them facing waves up to eight feet high and realized that swimming to the island, which tour guides had advised against, was their only way to survive

Their attorney, Jared Washkowitz, also claims that they weren’t given boundaries and didn’t identify a lifeguard or any kind of system for the tourists to help one another. 

‘It can be really rough water even for people that are experienced in the ocean, much less visitors who may not have any ocean experience or especially not have experience in Hawaiian waters,’ he said. 

The complaint said an investigation by the Coast Guard into the incident found negligence on the part of the captain, and that the company had since revised its procedures to require vocal contact with each passenger, according to BuzzFeed

‘They spent a lot of time in the water and if they weren’t young, healthy people who were athletic, they probably would’ve drowned,’ the lawyer added. 

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