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Passengers Evacuated, QE2 Begins Slow Cruise To Drydock

August 10, 1992

BOSTON (AP) _ The Queen Elizabeth 2 steamed slowly toward a Boston drydock Sunday, two days after an underwater ledge ripped a 74-foot gash in the hull, forcing the evacuation of 1,815 passengers at sea.

Federal investigators said it could take months to determine what caused the accident. There was no immediate damage estimate.

Too big to navigate the Cape Cod Canal between the peninsula and the mainland, the the QE2 took the long way around the cape under its own power Sunday, accompanied by a Coast Guard cutter and two tugboats. It was expected in Boston on Monday.

The accident occurred Friday, on the last leg of a five-day roundtrip cruise from New York to Nova Scotia and back. No one was injured.

The last of the passengers arrived in New York on Sunday morning after an all-night journey by ferry from the stranded liner to Newport, R.I.; from Newport to Providence by bus; and from Providence to New York’s Penn Station on three chartered Amtrak trains.

″I hate to say it, but this is the best part of the trip,″ said Tom Kelly, 62, of Scranton, Pa., as he disembarked from a ferry in Newport, R.I., and headed to a waiting bus. ″Everything since we left has been free.″

Two transatlantic cruises were canceled, but the ship was scheduled to resume service on Aug. 18 for a five-day trip from New York to Southampton, England.

The investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board could take six months, said spokesman, Brent Bahler.

Navin Sawhney, a spokesman for owner Cunard line, said Sunday that most of the passengers - among them actor George Kennedy and author Tom Clancy - were understanding.

″The general reading I’ve had is that passengers have kept things in perspective,″ Sawhney said.

08EDT