Two Good Samaritan vessels rescued 46 people Tuesday night who abandoned their sinking fishing boat in the Bering Sea off Alaska's Aleutian Islands, the Coast Guard says. There were no reports of any injuries as the crew members were transferred from life rafts to the merchant ships in fairly calm seas, Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Steenson says. The ships then embarked on a 13-hour voyage to Adak, Alaska, a port in the Aleutians. When the 220-foot Alaska Juris started taking on water Tuesday morning, all crew members donned survival suits and got into three rafts, the AP reports. An emergency beacon alerted the Coast Guard to the sinking ship just after 11:30am Alaska time.
The Good Samaritan ships Spar Canis and the Vienna Express rushed to the scene in response to a Coast Guard emergency broadcast for help, as did two other merchant vessels. The Coast Guard also diverted the cutter Midgett and dispatched two C-130 transport planes and two helicopters from Kodiak to the site of the sinking ship, located near Kiska Island, which is about 690 miles west of Dutch Harbor, one of the nation's busiest fishing ports. One C-130 monitored the rescue situation overhead. It wasn't immediately known what caused the Alaska Juris to begin taking on water, and that will be part of the Coast Guard investigation, Steenson says. (Read more Alaska stories.)