Couple on honeymoon is abandoned in the middle of the sea while they were diving

A couple on their honeymoon went abandoned to their fate in the sea near Hawaii while on a snorkeling tour. A year and a half after it happened, they have decided to sue the travel agency that made the tour.

Elizabeth “Bette” Webster and Alexander Burckle, originally from California, boarded a large catamaran one morning in September 2021 along with 42 other divers that would take them on a tour.

The crew told them they would sail to the nearby island of Lanai, once there, and stop at various places so they could dive.

Jess Hebert, another tourist who was in the same boat with her family, told the newspaper The Washington Post that “everything seemed normal when they approached the first snorkel site.”

The boat moored around 10:40 am off the coast of an abandoned resort on the island of Lanai, the woman said.

The captain of the boat informed the group that they could explore for an hour in that place before continuing. Hebert, Webster, and Burckle swam away from the boat.

Hebert got separated while looking for coral reefs and fish when he got back on the boat. She asked if Webster and Burckle were back on board. The crew said yes and then conducted a people count, he said.

The couple was left stranded in the water.

However, the newlyweds were in the water, watching with concern as their catamaran gradually drifted away, leaving them adrift in the middle of the sea.

Not understanding why the boat was leaving without them, with no other option and fearing for their lives, both they began to swim on the waves until they completed the half mile that separated them from the mainland on the island of Lanai.

It was at 01:00 pm when the couple was able to arrive, tired and dehydrated, on the shore of the beach. There, Webster wrote on the sand “help” and “SOS”as stated in the lawsuit.

Both waved their fins and several palm fronds trying to get the attention of a passing boat, but were unsuccessful.

Eventually, two Lanai residents met the couple and helped them return to Maui on a ferry. The couple used a borrowed cell phone to call the Sail Maui company, whose employees had not yet realized they were missing, attorney Washkowitz said.

The plaintiffs claim that the company and the captain of the boat acted negligently by not carrying out a proper count of the tourists.

Still, Webster and Burckle stayed in Hawaii for three more days before returning home, the lawsuit says.

Hebert said Webster called her in January to catch up and told her she was starting to feel better, but the memory of drifting in the open sea still haunts her.


In January 1656, the galleon Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, which was carrying an invaluable treasure in its bowels, sank after colliding with another ship in its fleet and crashing into a coral reef off the Bahamas. The ship was capable of carrying 891 tons; however, on that journey from Cuba to Seville, Spain, she was carrying more than usual.

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.


In addition to its cargo, the galleon was carrying other treasure that had been recovered from another sunken ship two years earlier. The burden of it was reserved, in part, as a royal tax for the then King of Spain, Philip IV. Among the objects on board were silver, gold coins, pearl rings, emerald pendants, crucifixes, and a gold filigree chain.

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.


In the image, a gold pendant that contains a Colombian emerald in the center, a dozen smaller emeralds around it, which are believed to represent the 12 apostles of Christ, and in the center with a cross of St. James. The piece belonged to the Order of Santiago, a centuries-old religious and military order.

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.

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Efforts had already been made in the past to recover the treasures from the galleon, one of them occurred in 1990. It was in the year 2020 when the Allen Exploration company reactivated the expedition to investigate the 13 kilometers of seabed where the treasures were believed to be found. wreckage of the ship

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.


The researchers quantified three million objects that were recovered over time. Using remote sensing technology such as sonar and magnetometers, Allen Exploration tracked “a long, winding trail of debris,” company founder Carl Allen said in a statement.

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.


The objects discovered by Allen’s team are on permanent display at the Bahamas Maritime Museum in the city of Freeport. Among them is this unique piece pictured, a 176-centimeter (69-inch) gold filigree chain.

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.

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In the image, a gold ring and pearls from the Maravillas shipwreck.

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.


“When we brought out the emerald and gold oval pendant, I felt the breath go out of me,” Allen said. “How these little pendants survived in these harsh waters, and how we managed to find them, is the miracle of Wonderland.”

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.


Other recovered objects shed light on daily life on the galleon Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, which sailed during the “Spanish Golden Age”, including Chinese porcelain and olive jugs, such as the one seen in the image and used for transport food.

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.

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Another recovered object that shows what day-to-day life could have been like on the double-deck ship is this glass vessel in the photo. “The Maravillas is an iconic part of Bahamian maritime history,” Allen said.

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.


Pendant in the shape of a gold scallop and bezoar stone of the Order of Santiago with a cross of Santiago in the center.

Credit: Courtesy Bahamas Maritime Museum.


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