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Coast Guard rescues four people from life raft near Big Sur

April 14, 2013|By Scott Glover

Battling 12-foot seas and 30-mph winds, the Coast Guard plucked four people from a life raft near Big Sur on Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The four were rescued shortly after the tug boat they were on suddenly sank, said Coast Guard Lt. Mark Leahey. The boat, Delta Captain, went down so quickly that the four crew members didn’t have time to don their cold water immersion gear before getting into their raft.

The wind and waves added to their peril as the boat drifted in the Pacific Ocean.

“It was kickin’ out there,” Leahey said. “It was lucky for our fast response.”

The Delta Captain was towing a barge southward along the coast when it went down for undetermined reasons, Leahey said. The crew sent a distress signal about 2:55 p.m. Saturday.

An HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter that took off from San Francisco was on the scene within about an hour. A Coast Guard rescue diver was lowered from the aircraft and helped the crew members, one by one, from their raft into a metal basket in which they were pulled to safety.

All four were taken to Monterey, where they were assessed by medics. There were no reported injuries, Leahey said.

The sunken tug may remain tethered to the barge it was towing. Efforts are underway to determine whether the boat can be salvaged and to ensure that fuel in the tug and on the barge does not spill into the ocean, Leahey said.

The Coast Guard did not release the identities of the rescued crew members or the name of the diver who came to their aid.

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scott.glover@latimes.com

Video: U.S. Coast Guard

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