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Training drill turns real

MAY 2 — Officials with the Coast Guard Auxiliary last week rescued 13 people from a charter boat moments before the vessel sank into 39-degree waters off Homer, Alaska.

When the officials arrived on scene, the rear deck of the 40-foot charter boat, named Halibut Endeavor, was awash and the passengers were on the forward deck trying to balance the boat, a news release says.

“We removed all 11 passengers, then the vessel rolled over on its side within 30 seconds after the last passengers was removed,” a coxswain aboard an Auxiliary rescue boat says in the release. “We backed away momentarily to clear the sinking vessel while the two remaining people on board – the master and his crewmember – climbed the hull as it rolled.”

The Coast Guard boat approached again and the master and crewmember were able to climb aboard, the release says. The charter boat sank completely about a minute later. None of the passengers were injured.

Auxiliary members aboard two boats were performing towing drills April 25 when they received a distress call that Halibut Endeavor was taking on water about 20 miles away, the release says. One of the boats, a 27-foot rescue boat with twin 250-hp outboards, responded.

“A disaster like this is something we train for, but we hope it never happens,” the coxswain says in the release. “Our training paid off. And, best of all, everyone got to go home safe.”

The cause of the sinking was still under investigation, according to the release.

Jason Fell