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5 Saved from 102ft Ocean Eagle on Mariposa Reef

Five people were rescued in harsh weather conditions from the tug Ocean Eagle that ran aground on the Mariposa Reef on the south side of Strait Island in Sumner Strait Thursday night.

The Jayhawk aircrew hoisted the five people from a barge attached to the 102-foot tug Ocean Eagle and transported them to Sitka after the tug began taking on water Wednesday night.

The crew of the Ocean Eagle alerted the Coast Guard that the tug and barge had run aground on Mariposa Reef and begun taking on water in the engine room. The tug is reportedly carrying a total of 58,000 gallons of diesel fuel divided among several tanks. The barge is carrying mixed dry cargo and 52,000 gallons of diesel. Any discharge of product is unknown but consultations with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for oil trajectory calculations are underway.

The Ocean Eagle and barge refloated and drifted to Alvin Cove at approximately 3 a.m. Two Coast Guard cutters remain on scene assessing the situation, looking for signs of pollution and verifying nearby aids to navigation. Commercial tugs contracted by the Ocean Eagle’s owner are on scene to dewater, effect repairs and mitigate potential pollution.

Weather on scene was reported as 34-mph winds with 6-foot seas.