Newly opened Jacks or Better Casino yacht damaged in crash

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter , Ashlynn Turner - Content Editor , Stephanie Cano - Digital News Editor

GALVESTON, Texas - The Jacks or Better Casino yacht crashed into a buoy Saturday evening while customers were on board, officials said.

Approximately 11:30 p.m. Saturday, the ship hit the warning marker for the south jetty and sustained minor damage to the side of the craft, which received 2 to 3 inch holes about 15 feet above the waterline in the collision.

For passenger Nancy Wilson, of Dickenson, the crash was terrifying.

“I thought we hit another ship. I mean, the sound was incredible, just this loud, loud crashing, scraping sound of metal on metal,” Wilson said.

“If you saw the movie 'Titanic,' that’s what it sounded like, this scraping sound that just went on and on.”

The yacht set sail for the first time on April 7 and docks at 715 North Holiday Drive in Galveston.

According to the Jacks or Better Casino website, the yacht takes people out on the water to party, game and gamble.

VIDEO: New casino yacht damaged in accident

It is unknown how many people were on the boat at the time of the crash, but there were no reported injuries.

The company will investigate the incident.

The U.S. Coast Guard is repairing the buoy. 

Jacks or Better captain David Kendrick issued a statement Wednesday apologizing for a delay in response to the incident and said the delay was due to the ongoing investigation.  

Kendrick said it was not their intention to put anyone in danger or cause any harm and the rumors that he may have fallen asleep or acted in an un-professional manner are false.

"There were no alcohol or drugs involved as the tests will show when the results are returned. In my entire career I have never had an incident like this and I am still trying to figure out how & why to put it bluntly, I dropped the ball as I was the Captain, I was in charge and it was my responsibility for safe passage," Kendrick said. 

Following the statement was surveillance video that Kendrick released stating,

"The following video shows JOB's response during and immediately after the side swipe with the mile marker that occurred Saturday evening. The marine crew can be seen directing passengers and were aided by security staff members, who can be designated by their red shirts. As clearly seen from the video our crew followed protocol as they directed passengers upstairs and kept them calm. There was an employee present at all times," Kendrick said. 

Sunday’s cruise was canceled due to mechanical issues with the ship, according to company that operates the ship.

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