Boatload of Publisher’s Partygoers Sinks Northwest of St. John on New Year’s Eve Day

A boat belonging to one of the publishers of a free island entertainment publication, sunk just off Carval Rock on Saturday, Dec. 31, at approximately 3:30 p.m., while on its way to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke.

The sinking is being investigated by V.I. National Park rangers, according to published reports. By the time the rangers responded, only two feet of the boat was still visible above the water’s surface and there were no people in the area, according to the report.

The powerboat, which has since been recovered, had a “bunch of people and one keg onboard,” according to boat owner Rich Dominguez, who downplayed the incident.

“The swells heading out past Carval Rock were insane,” said Dominguez. “We tried turning back toward St. John, but it was too late. Water caused the sinking, and there was no structural damage to the boat whatsoever.”

No people were in the water when the National Park rangers arrived, said Dominguez, because passengers had jumped onto a nearby vessel.

“We all jumped onto another boat and kept on toward Jost,” he said. “One boat sinking doesn’t warrant canceling New Year’s Eve.”

Dominguez is asking for help in recovering items lost during the accident.

“I would like to send out a plea to anyone who may have found any floating debris to return it to us,” he said. “Lots of people lost bags with IDs and other personal effects that we’d like returned.”

Dominguez asked individuals who find personal items to call 514-6683.

Pending an investigation by V.I. National Park rangers, which was expected to be finished last week, charges could be filed. No further information regarding the investigation was available from VNP officials.

According to eyewitness accounts, approximately 11 people, including at least one minor, were on the 21-foot powerboat at the time of the sinking.

The accident was just one of several occurring in the past two weeks—a boat crashed into rocks near Hawksnest on Thursday, Dec. 29, and an Inter-Island ferry carrying Caneel Bay employees to St. Thomas crashed into Steven Cay, just west of Cruz Bay, on Friday, Dec. 30.