ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two Good Samaritan ships were helping rescue 46 crew members who abandoned a sinking fishing vessel in Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain, Coast Guard officials said Tuesday.
There were no reported injuries to the crew members, who had donned survival suits and then huddled in three large life rafts awaiting rescue after the 220-foot Alaska Juris started taking on water late Tuesday morning.
The plan was to have the 46 people transfer to the Good Samaritan ships, the Spar Canis and the Vienna Express, Petty Officer Lauren Steenson said.
The crew would be transported to a port, but she said it wasn’t immediately known where they would be taken.
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 was monitoring the rescue situation overheard, and the other three aircraft were still en route Tuesday afternoon.
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.
An emergency beacon alerted the Coast Guard to the sinking ship just after 11:30 a.m. Alaska Standard Time.
It’s not the first trouble the Alaska Juris has encountered in recent years.
In March 2012, a fisherman on board the Alaska Juris 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 crew of the Alaska Juris requested 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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