Leave it to an ex-TV news person to spot a story—a former ABC and NBC News assignment editor/producer spotted a boat crashed on the Colony Beach—also known as Malibu Beach—last week, snapping a few pictures of the vessel washed up on the sand. Chris Cahan and his wife, Vicki, happened to be going for a run on the ocean side of The Colony last Thursday morning, May 13, when they spotted a large sailboat that had crash landed on the shore.
“The boat was deeply waterlogged and looked as if it had been abandoned at sea for some time … Debris such as shards of wood, nautical cabinet doors and torn pieces of what appeared to be fiberglass paneling were strewn across the beach for some 100 yards or so from the sailboat wreck,” Chris wrote in a message to The Malibu Times.
“There was also a hazmat team parked in two trucks above the beach public entrance with what appeared to be white plastic bottles gathered in clear bags,” Chris continued. “Their presence there may or may not be related to the wreck, though I will note I’ve never seen a hazmat team on that beach before.”
As it turns out, local authorities were already well aware of the large wrecked sailboat before Chris saw it. According to Pono Barnes, a spokesperson for LA County Lifeguards, the 35- to 38-foot boat washed up around 2 or 3 a.m. earlier that day. Though little was known about the crash, the boat is known to have been last registered to an owner in San Diego.
Barnes theorized that perhaps the boat had been moored offshore somewhere and lost its anchor.
“We attempted to pull it off the beach using rescue boats Baywatch Del Rey and Baywatch Malibu,” Barnes said in a phone interview. “The Area 33 captain was standing by watching the operation and noticed a very large hole in the boat. He was afraid it might sink and cause oil and gas to leak into the ocean if it was pulled off the sand, so he called off the operation and decided to let private salvage come and take it away.”
At that point, Barnes said the matter was turned over to the LA County Sheriff’s Department to work with the owner and the salvage company. When reached for comment, an officer at the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station told TMT they did not have any additional information.
Speaking at the Thursday Malibu City Council meeting, Public Safety Commissioner Chris Frost said the boat had been cleared with help from “construction workers and residents” who “took it upon themselves to help clean up and stack most of the debris field.”