Four Crewmen Safe After Tug Sinks

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A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and the crew of the tug Aries stand next to the rescue helicopter June 26, 2011, at St. Paul Island. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage personnel are investigating the cause of the sinking and are working with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation personnel and the vessel’s owner, C&K Marine based out of Anchorage, to salvage the tug and address any environmental concerns. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Kodiak

Maggie Wall/KMXT

Crews from the Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak rescued four people whose tugboat sank yesterday (Sunday) morning east of St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs.

The 64-foot tug Aries radioed for help at 6:11 a.m. reporting that it was listing badly and the crew was putting on survival suits. Coast Guard Communication Station Kodiak received the Aires’ mayday call.

The Air Station Kodiak scrambled an HC-130 Hercules airplane and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the scene 109 miles east of St. Paul Island.

In addition, the Coast Guard Cutter Healy was diverted from its fisheries patrol in the Bering Sea.

By time the C-130 arrived on scene at 9:30 the tug had already sunk and the four crew members were safely onboard the barge that the Aires had had under tow.

The helicopter crew arrived at 1:34 p.m. and hoisted the men to safety. No injuries were reported and the tug’s crew was flown to St. Paul Island.

A second HC-130 was dispatched from Air Station Kodiak to relieve the first aircraft on scene. That crew reported a 1,500-foot by 800-foot diesel sheen in the vicinity of the barge and the sunken tug. The Aires is reported to have had 29,000 gallons of diesel onboard.

The tug Aries is owned by C-and-K Marine which is based out of Anchorage. The Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are working with the vessel’s owner to salvage the tug and deal with any environmental concerns.

The weather at the scene was reported as 29 mph winds with 11-foot seas. Water temperature was in the mid-40s.

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