Santa Barbara- S County

Captain cited after boat crashes into Stearns Wharf

3 people overboard, piling damaged

Photographer captures boat crashing...

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A boat captain is facing fines and potential jail time after crashing a boat into Stearns Wharf in the Santa Barbara Harbor.

Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman identified the operator of the 24-foot rigid hauled inflatable with propellers as Santa Barbara resident Paul Noury. Noury is also the captain of Santa Barbara Yacht Charters, according to its website.

The boat carrying seven people slammed into Stearns Wharf late Sunday afternoon.

Kronman said Noury was traveling at a high rate of speed before the crash.

Witnesses and photographer Christopher Foley, who captured it all on his camera, said Koury was doing loops and donuts "dangerously" close to the pier. 

The impact sent three people into the water.  Luckily, they were able to get out on their own without any visible injuries. Kronman said the outcome could have been deadly.

Kronman said Harbor Patrol is taking the incident seriously, "This kind of vessel operation is dangerous to everyone, the people on board, nearby boats."

Koury was cited for a misdemeanor for reckless and negligent vessel operation.

When reached by phone, Koury said the throttle got stuck and "I couldn't make the turn like I always do."

Koury said he was going about 20 miles per hour, but was not doing donuts or loops. "There was nothing I could really do," he said. "It was an accident."

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