11 people rescued from sinking yacht

Rocks pierce boat's hull in Chatham Strait

Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2001

A small cruise ship hit rocks in Chatham Strait about 12 miles south of Angoon this morning, puncturing the vessel's hull.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported receiving a mayday call from the 96-foot Alaskan Song about 8 a.m. today.

"It hit the rocks and was taking on water," said Petty Officer Roger Wetherell of the Coast Guard's public affairs office in Juneau.

The Coast Guard cutter Liberty, which was only five miles away at the time the mayday was received, responded to the scene and rescued all 11 people on board: seven passengers with luggage, one company representative and three crew members.

The Alaskan Song is owned by Alaska Yacht Charters, headquartered at Bainbridge Island, Wash. It seems to be a relatively new ship, said Petty Officer Darrell Wilson. Company officials did not return calls this morning.

Coast Guard crewmen remained on the scene combating the flooding with pumps. An Air Station Sitka helicopter was en route to the scene as of 10:30 a.m. with additional pumps.

Wilson did not know the ship's itinerary and was unsure where the rescued passengers would be brought.

"They are talking about taking them to Petersburg or Juneau," he said about 11 a.m.

The Alaskan Song was beached late this morning at Chaik Bay, 12 miles south of Angoon, on the west coast of Admiralty Island. "The two de-watering pumps (from the Liberty) were staying just about even with the flooding," Wilson said. "With the new pumps (being flown in by helicopter), they will be able to get ahead of the flooding and effect some repairs."

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