Crews are working to retrieve a 45-foot sailboat after it ran aground on the reef fronting Old Kona Airport county park.
Hawaii Island firefighters received a distress call at 11:55 p.m. Sunday approximately 100 ft. offshore.
Two people on board, a man and woman, jumped in the water and swam to shore, authorities said. They were not injured.
The California-based boat “Seaquel” came from Mexico and made its first port of call at Hilo, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Boating officials expected to receive scope of work/proposals from vendors for review Monday afternoon and removal could begin as early as Tuesday, the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources said.
The expedited action is to prevent further damage to the reef, a DLNR spokesperson said.
The County Parks Department is looking to obtain private security to keep looters from boarding the vessel, she added.
Officials said the owner did not have insurance and cannot afford to pay for salvage.
U.S. Coast Guard investigators assessed the vessel and determined the boat had five gallons of fuel on board. The hull remains in tact and fuel did not leak into the water, according to the Coast Guard.