NEWPORT BEACH (CNS) - A 55-foot boat lost power off Newport Beach overnight and drifted through thick fog into the Balboa Pier, causing structural damage to the boat, but no injuries to 13 people on board, authorities said.
It happened between 7:45 and 8 p.m. Sunday when the Huntington Harbour- based boat named Lucky 7 lost power in the thick fog off Newport Beach, Orange County sheriff's Harbor Patrol Deputy William Nelson said.
``I got a cellphone call from a gentleman who said himself, a deckhand and 11 people on a 55-foot boat lost power and they were not sure where they were, but they thought they were about 800 yards offshore,'' Nelson said.
After a couple of increasingly panicked calls, the man said he was getting ``real close to the Balboa Pier,'' the deputy said.
The captain needed a winch to drop the large anchor, and that required power, so ``The boat drifted into the pier,'' Nelson said.
Due to the thickness of the fog, the Harbor Patrol was unable to get a boat to the Lucky 7 before it hit the pier, he said.
Newport Beach lifeguards and Harbor Patrol deputies knew the boat had sustained ``pretty good'' structural damage above the water line to fiberglass and stainless steel railings, but they did not know if there was damage below the water line in the hull, so they had the 11 passengers and two crew members jump into the water and swim to shore, Nelson said.
The Balboa Pier was evacuated to accommodate rescue equipment and allow city workers to examine the pier for structural damage to the pier, he said.
``I doubt there's structural damage,'' Nelson said. ``The pier goes through heavy storms.''