Coast Guard towing disabled vessel into Ponce de Leon Inlet, Fla.

Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher during a patrol of Blount Island, Jacksonville, Fla. Aug. 16. 2002.  USCG photo by Crystal K. Norman

Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher file photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Coast Guard is towing a 44-foot sail boat ashore with two people aboard after repeated attempts to dewater the vessel proved unsuccessful off the coast of St. Augustine, Fla., Sunday.

The Mayport, Fla., based 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher has the 44-foot sail vessel Tropical Spice in tow and will transfer to a Coast Guard 47-foot motor lifeboat crew who will transport the vessel ashore to Ponce De Leon Inlet, Fla.

The Coast Guard was initially notified by the master of the Tropical Spice at 11:25 p.m. Saturday claiming they had run aground after they entered the ocean by mistake. The Tropical Spice was originally transiting in the Intracoastal Waterway. The Coast Guard developed a communication schedule with the boaters after they indicated they were no longer aground and were making way.

The Coast Guard was again notified Sunday by the master of the Tropical Spice that the vessel was taking on water and sinking. A Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Ga., HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter air crew deployed a rescue swimmer with a dewatering pump to stop the flooding. Attempts to dewater the vessel proved unsuccesful.

Rescue crews from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and St. John’s County also responded.

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