Coast Guard rescues 9 from sinking vessel near Chicago

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CLEVELAND — A Coast Guard boatcrew rescued nine people off of a sinking vessel late Sunday on Lake Michigan near Chicago.

Just before 7:30 p.m. CDT, people aboard a 33-foot boat notified search-and-rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee via VHF-FM marine radio on channel 16 that their boat was taking on water about a mile from the Calumet Harbor, Ill., breakwall.

SAR controllers at Sector Lake Michigan issued an urgent marine information broadcast that informs mariners of a situation, asks them to maintain a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the nearest Coast Guard unit, and assist if possible.

A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium was diverted from a patrol to assist.

Coast Guard dewaters sinking vessel near Chicago

A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor, in Chicago, works with a Chicago Police Department boatcrew to dewater a sinking vessel in Lake Michigan Aug. 18, 2013. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Chad Whetsel. Click for more

Upon arriving on scene, the boatcrew transferred all nine people aboard the RB-M and began dewatering the sinking vessel with the assistance of a Chicago Police Department marine unit.

The dewatering attempts were unsuccessful and the vessel partially sank just outside of the breakwall with about six feet of the bow above the waterline and the stern completely submerged.

The operator believed that the vessel might have struck a shoal, causing the vessel to take on water.

The boat had about 80 gallons of fuel aboard, but there are no signs of pollution. Marine inspectors from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago monitored the situation overnight.

The vessel was salvaged early this morning.

The Coast Guard reminds mariners of the importance of having an emergency communication device aboard their vessels. Although a cell phone is acceptable as a backup, a marine radio is the best and most reliable way to reach the Coast Guard during an emergency situation.

The Coast Guard also wants mariners to remember to familiarize themselves with the area that they will be operating their vessels in.

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