Whale watching cruise boat caught by lobster trap rope on return to Boston; trip home delayed

They weren't castaways, but like the tourists on Gilligan's Island, a group of whale watchers expecting only a three-hour tour got much more after their boat was snagged by a lobster trap rope off Massachusetts and they were forced to spend a long night at sea.

The Boston Harbor Cruises whale watch vessel was freed early Tuesday and was undergoing a final inspection before being allowed to return to shore with its 157 passengers, the Coast Guard said.

One of the boat's propellers became entangled Monday on the rope about 15 miles offshore. Divers hired by the vessel's owner succeeded in freeing the boat, Coast Guard Petty Officer MyeongHi Clegg told The Associated Press.

"They were able to untangle the line from the propeller," said Clegg.

The vessel would be escorted back to shore by two Coast Guard cutters, but would be operating under only one propeller since the other was damaged in the incident, Clegg said.

Ken Maguire, one of the passengers on the boat, said they had expected to be back Monday around 4:30 p.m. but about 10 minutes into the return trip, the boat stopped after apparently hitting something.

No injuries were reported.

Clegg said the Coast Guard was monitoring the safety of the passengers overnight and no serious medical problems were reported.

She expected the passengers would be very relieved that their ordeal was over. Whale watches are among the most popular tourist activities in the Boston area.

Maguire said passengers were told they will get refunds and other assistance.

The boat company hasn't returned a phone message seeking comment.