Couple abandoned in waters off Lanai when snorkeling tour group forgets about them

A California couple is suing a snorkeling company in Maui after their tour group left them high and dry — or in this case, behind and wet.

The experienced snorkelers were on their honeymoon when they booked a day trip with Sail Maui from Lahaina to Lanai. While they were snorkeling off the coast of Lanai, however, the waters got choppy and their tour group's catamaran decided it was time to leave — without them. The couple swam towards their group, trying to catch up to the catamaran, but realized the tour company had no idea they were missing as it left them behind — about a quarter to half a mile away from the shore, according to Hawaii News Now.

"It was basically a traumatizing event where they thought they were going to die and they thought their spouse was going to die," he [Atty. Jared Washkowitz] said. …

The lawsuit alleges that the crew didn't do a proper head count and didn't even know Webster and Burckle were missing until the couple called the tour company from Lanai.

"It was just too disorganized. Everybody kept moving, so they easily got missed," said Jessica Hebert, a Louisiana resident who was on the same snorkeling tour.

"And then how do you get to another place and again miss the head count? That's twice," noting that the vessel had made a second stop before returning to Lahaina.

Hebert also didn't realize the two had been left behind until she ran into them the next day in Lahaina and Webster recounted the experience.

Fortunately, the stranded couple was able to swim for about 20 minutes until they reached a remote part of Lanai's shoreline. After a while, they were spotted by some residents who were driving by, and later that evening they caught a ferry back to Lahaina, reports Hawaii News Now.

Reportedly, the tour company has since changed their head count procedure.