The 64-foot Adventure Ferry was transporting 56 people from Southport to Bald Head Island when it ran aground near Battery Island and the mouth of the Cape Fear River, injuring 14 people.
The Coast Guard and emergency medical services assisted the injured passengers at the scene.
Twelve victims were taken by ambulance to Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport while one passenger was transported by helicopter.
Matthew Fleming, a passenger on the Adventure Ferry, described the grounding as "hitting a brick wall."
"We were cruising along. I figure it was full throttle," a shaken and limping Fleming said as he came ashore from a Coast Guard rescue boat. "It was a dead stop.”
Joyce Fulton of Bald Head Island Limited, the parent company of Bald Head Island Transportation, which operates the ferry, issued a statement concerning the incident.
“There are some injured passengers, and they were transported by the Coast Guard.”
“The ferry transport has suspended until the Coast Guard” can determine that the passageway is safe.
Asked if the cause of the accident could be determined, Fulton responded, "We're still in the fact-gathering mode."