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14 injured when North Carolina ferry runs aground

SOUTHPORT, N.C. - A private ferry heading to a resort island off of North Carolina ran aground near the mouth of the Cape Fear River Tuesday morning, sending passengers flying and injuring 14 people.

The 64-foot ferry Adventure ran aground Tuesday shortly after leaving the city of Southport for Bald Head Island at 9 a.m., said Joyce Fulton, a spokeswoman for Bald Head Island Ltd.

At least 30 people were on the ferry at the time of the accident.

The U.S. Coast Guard and partner agencies respond to the ferry Adventure, which ran aground near Battery Island, N.C., on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. US COAST GUARD, REUTERS

Coast Guard officials said three vessels responded and transported 14 injured passengers back to Southport, where ambulances were waiting to take them to a nearby hospital.

Brunswick County spokeswoman Amanda Hutcheson said one person was airlifted from the scene with potentially serious injuries.

Passenger Matthew Fleming told the StarNews of Wilmington that it was like "hitting a brick wall" when the ferry ran aground. He said the impact sent several people flying, leaving numerous passengers bloodied.

"We were cruising along. I figure it was full throttle," a shaken and limping Fleming said as he came ashore from a Coast Guard rescue boat. "It was a dead stop."

Water temperatures on Tuesday were about 50 degrees. The ferry ride between Southport and Bald Head typically takes 20 minutes.

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