Vessels help sinking boat

Posted: Monday, May 15, 2000

A pleasure boat struck a submerged pole Sunday afternoon near Spuhn Island, but nearby boats were able to keep it afloat while it was towed to Auke Bay. No one was injured, according to rescuers.

The owner, whom authorities didn't name, was alone on the 26-foot boat when it apparently struck a metal marker pole near Gibby Rock, said Ronda Marshall, the harbormaster assistant at Auke Bay. The pole's light had blown off this spring, she said, and the pole is submerged at some tides.

The collision gouged a hole in the hull about 1 by 2 feet, Marshall said.

Gibby Rock is about four miles south of Auke Bay. A commercial fishing vessel, the Julie Ann, and a Gustavus-based tour boat, the Taz, were the first to respond to the boater's radioed Mayday at about 2:30 p.m. The boater had deployed a life raft.

The pleasure boat was almost 100 percent flooded when the Taz arrived, said Taz skipper Brad Rice. ``We tied alongside and helped with the pumps and helped pull him in.''

The Taz and Julie Ann tied up to the sinking boat, holding it aloft like two people carrying a person by the arms, Marshall said. A Coast Guard inflatable from the cutter Liberty and a 25-foot boat from Station Juneau brought pumps, the Coast Guard said.

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