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Tugboat sinks in Bering Sea off St. Paul Island; crew rescued

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Posted: Sunday, June 26, 2011 2:05 pm | Updated: 1:17 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Four crew members aboard a tugboat that sank in the Bering Sea on Sunday made their way to a barge the vessel was towing and were rescued without injury by the Coast Guard.

The four were aboard the 68-foot tugboat Aries. It sank 109 miles east of St. Paul Island, the largest of the Pribilof Islands about 300 miles west of the Alaska mainland and 750 miles west of Anchorage.

The Coast Guard took a call from the tug at 6:11 a.m. reporting the vessel was taking on water. Crew members said they were putting on survival suits.

Winds in the area were reported at 29 mph, with 11-foot waves and a water temperature of 46 degrees.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane carrying rescue gear launched from Kodiak and reached the barge at 9:30 a.m., confirming the tug had sunk.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Lally said a helicopter from Kodiak hoisted the crew from the barge at 1:30 p.m. and reached St. Paul about an hour later.

The Aries is owned by C&K Marine, based in Anchorage. It was carrying 29,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

The barge was carrying a mobile home and construction equipment from Dutch Harbor to a village near Homer, Lally said. The barge was anchored to keep it from drifting, Lally said.

"The plan right now is for the tug Blarney from Naknek to head out there," Lally said. The tug could reach the anchored barge as early as 2 p.m. Monday, Lally said.

The Coast Guard said the Seattle-based cutter Healy, on assignment in the Bering Sea, was diverted to the scene.

The cause of the sinking has not been determined.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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