Drama At Sea Off Alaska As Dozens Abandon Sinking Fishing Boat


Wednesday, July 27th 2016, 5:26 am
By: News 9


Two Good Samaritan vessels rescued 46 people Tuesday night who'd abandoned their sinking fishing boat in the Bering Sea off Alaska's Aleutian Islands, the Coast Guard said.

There were no reports of any injuries as the crew members were transferred from life rafts to the merchant ships in a fairly calm seas, Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Steenson said.

The ships then embarked on a 13-hour voyage to Adak, Alaska, a port in the Aleutians

The temperature was about 50 degrees, with heavy fog, light rain and four-foot seas, considered manageable for people in life rafts, the Coast Guard told CBS News.

When the 220-foot Alaska Juris started taking on water Tuesday morning, all crew members donned survival suits and got into three rafts.

An emergency beacon alerted the Coast Guard to the sinking ship just after 11:30 a.m. Alaska Standard Time.

The Good Samaritan ships Spar Canis and the Vienna Express rushed to the scene in response to a Coast Guard's emergency broadcast for help, as did two other merchant vessels.

The Coast Guard also diverted the cutter Midgett and dispatched two C-130 transport planes and two helicopters from Kodiak to the site of the sinking ship, located near Kiska Island, which is about 690 miles west of Dutch Harbor, one of the nation's busiest fishing ports.

One C-130 monitored the rescue situation overhead.

It wasn't immediately known what caused the Alaska Juris to begin taking on water, and that will be part of the Coast Guard investigation, Steenson said.

Weather conditions were calm seas and winds, but there was low visibility because of heavy fog, Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Ayd said.

It's not the first trouble the Alaska Juris has encountered in recent years.

In March 2012, a fisherman on board died after a cable snapped and struck him in the head. Days later, another fisherman was treated for a head injury after a cable snapped aboard the vessel and struck him.

In May 2012, the boat's crew sought help from the Coast Guard after three crew members were exposed to ammonia after a leak when the ship was just north of Cold Bay, Alaska. The Coast Guard flew the trio to Cold Bay, where an airplane was waiting to fly them to Anchorage.

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