LOWER TOWNSHIP — The Cape May-Lewes Ferry vessel MV Cape Henlopen ran aground after it left the dock on Tuesday night.

A strong gust of wind blew the vessel with 23 passengers and nine vehicles toward the Higbee Beach jetty in the North Cape May section of Lower Township around 6 p.m as it left the Cape May Canal.

Two tow boats were called to help free the ferry and after two hours brought it back to the terminal near the mouth of the canal, according to Delaware River & Bay Authority spokesman James Salmon. Overnight accommodations were arranged at a Cape May hotel for passengers.

New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the National Weather Service issued a gale warning several hours earlier. The wind was blowing out of the northwest with gusts as high as 32 mph.

"That's not too ferocious but definitely noticeable. I'm not a boater but I assume if you find yourself floating in the wrong place at the wrong time, gusts like that could push you into an unfortunate situation," Zarrow said.

Salmon said there were no injuries during the incident.

The ferry's first runs of the morning out of Cape May were canceled on Wednesday because of the winds and low tides.

The website Wildwood Video Archive was the first to report the incident.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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