Coast Guard investigates Papa George sinking

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard is investigating the sinking of the fishing vessel Papa George, homeported in Seattle, that went down 12 miles from the shore of Long Beach, Wa., Sunday.

Two of the five crewmembers aboard the Papa George perished when the vessel began taking on water and capsized Sunday afternoon. The crew was in the process of pumping water onto and off of the ship in order to keep their catch of 40-60 tons of sardines fresh when the engine room and hold filled with water causing the vessel to list and capsize. The three remaining crewmembers attempted to rescue their shipmates using a skiff from the Papa George but were unable to reach them in time.

The surviving crewmembers recovered the bodies of the deceased and made their way to shore where they were spotted by a concerned citizen whose call was relayed to Coast Guard Air Station Astoria. An HH-60 helicopter crew was dispatched to the beach and a rescue swimmer was lowered to assist emergency medical workers who were already on scene. The three crewmembers were taken to a local hotel after being examined by the medical crews. Investigators from Coast Guard Sector Portland began their investigation by interviewing the survivors today.

The cause of death for both crewmembers is unknown and the cause of the sinking will be determined through the investigation. The Coast Guard is examining any environmental, mechanical or human factors that may have resulted in this tragedy.

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