Pilot error may have had role in boat crash

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A boat crash that turned a whale-watching excursion into a chaotic day on the water outside Boston Harbor was probably caused by a navigational error, the Coast Guard said Monday.

Officials said the vessel strayed from the South Channel, a major passing lane, and struck rocks in a shallow trouble spot known as Devil's Back about two miles east of Deer Island.

"The [captain] made a judgment call; that's the direction the investigation seems to be going,'' Coast Guard Lieutenant Stephen West said. "I frankly don't know why he would have gone outside the channel.''

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