A couple, Alexander Burckle and Elizabeth Webster, have filed a lawsuit against a snorkeling company claiming they were abandoned in the middle of the ocean while on their honeymoon. They are seeking $5 million in damages.
In their lawsuit, they say they went on a snorkeling trip to Lanai, a small island near Maui, in September of 2021 with the Maui Sail Company.
While snorkeling, the New York Post reports, the waters suddenly became turbulent.
When they looked for the boat that had taken them out on the water, they say it had disappeared.
Burckle and Webster state in their lawsuit that they “were beginning to panic and were struggling to swim in the ocean conditions” and “they feared that drowning was imminent.”
Luckily, feeling “fatigued and dehydrated” they eventually managed to swim to the shore of Lanai.
It was there that they tried spelling out the words “SOS” and “HELP” in the sand.
That having not worked, they were eventually rescued by some local residents. (That’s right. They spelled out SOS on the sand when there were actual people who lived on the island around.)
When Webster contacted the Maui Sail Company to express her displeasure with having allegedly been stranded in the ocean, the company was said to have replied that they didn’t notice anyone was missing.
Jessica Hebert, who was also on the same snorkeling tour, told Hawaii News Now, “It was just too disorganized. Everybody kept moving, so they easily got missed.”
Hebert, a member of the US Coast Guard, later connected the couple to a local unit, leading to a Coast Guard investigation that [Jared Washkowitz, the couple’s attorney] said found Sail Maui’s ship negligent for not conducting a proper headcount.
Washkowitz also said the Coast Guard report included a statement from a passenger who reportedly told the crew two people were missing from the boat before the headcount. The crew member denied missing any passengers, Washkowitz said.
“They spent a lot of time in the water and if they weren’t young, healthy people who were athletic,” Washkowitz told Insider, “they probably would’ve drowned.”