A Hawaiian snorkel tour business allegedly abandoned a couple at sea.

A newlywed couple filed a complaint against a Hawaiian tour operator, claiming that the firm abandoned them while they were snorkeling.

In September 2021, Elizabeth Webster and Alexander Burckle reserved a trip with Sail Maui.

According to the lawsuit, the boat abandoned the honeymooners in choppy waters with a roughly half-mile swim back to land.

The tour operator did not respond to a request for comment from BBC News.

The pair is suing Sail Maui for $5 million (£4 million) in general damages and psychological suffering.

According to the couple’s lawyer, Jared Washkowitz, “they believed they were going to die”. “They believed their husband would pass away.”

Ms. Webster and Mr. Burckle embarked on a snorkeling tour to Lanai, a small island close to Maui, at 10:00 local time, according to the federal lawsuit filed last month, and reached their first stop about 40 minutes later.

The lawsuit claims that although the skipper informed passengers that the boat would anchor for about an hour, he did not specify an exact time for when it would depart.

Additionally, Ms. Webster and Mr. Burckle claim they received no instructions on how to get back to the boat or what to do in an emergency.

About an hour later, the pair made an attempt to head back to the boat, but as they swam, they became aware that they were not getting any closer.

According to the lawsuit, what were at first clear and tranquil waters suddenly turned rough and turbulent, and the pair made distress signals. The boat paid them no attention, and they watched as it sailed off without them.

They decided that returning to shore was their last chance of survival at that point, according to the lawsuit.

The couple swam to Lanai island and, after more than two hours in the ocean, emerged on the shore exhausted and drained. Locals eventually came across them and assisted them in getting back to Maui.

According to the lawsuit, the crew of the boat conducted three headcounts but was still unaware that Ms. Webster and Mr. Burckle were absent when the couple contacted the tour operator following the incident.

Jessica Hebert, a different traveler on the same tour who was identified by the media as a US Coast Guard member, claimed to have run into the pair the following day.

They were frightened, she remarked. She characterized the crew’s headcount efforts as disorganized.

Everyone was moving, so they were easily missed, according to Ms. Hebert.

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