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Six Rescued From Sinking Fishing Boat Off New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD (CBS) -- The U.S. Coast Guard rescued six crew members from a sinking fishing vessel in Buzzard's Bay Sunday morning.

Coast Guard Lt. Jarrod Pomajzl told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that the Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England command center received a mayday call around 9:30 a.m. Sunday from the 72-foot scallop boat Captain Jeff stating that it was taking on water in Buzzard's Bay.

Coast Guard crews worked to rescue six crewmembers from a sinking fishing vessel in Buzzard's Bay Sunday morning. (Photo credit - New Bedford Fire Department)

Winds were gusting at 36 knots and waves 4 to 6 feet high were hitting the ship five miles offshore when the Coast Guard received the call for help.

The mayday said six people were aboard the boat.

"We launched members of the Buzzard's Bay task force, Coast Guard Station Menemsha, and a helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod, as well as some commercial assistance providers who responded to our urgent marine information broadcasts," said Lt. Pomajzl.

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was lowered to the boat's deck, along with equipment meant to get water out of the boat. Lt. Pomajzl said it couldn't be de-watered, though, and so that rescue swimmer helped get the six people into smaller vessels.

The six crew members were taken to New Bedford, where they were evaluated by EMS and determined to be fine.

"It's very gratifying we were able to respond so quickly with Coast Guard assets and port partners able to get on scene. Make attempt to de-water the vessel then have enough time to realize that wasn't going to work. So get them to safety," Lt. Pomajzl added.

The boat's owners arranged for commercial assistance to secure the Captain Jeff, which was sinking near the entrance of New Bedford harbor between buoys 4 and 5 mid-day Sunday.

Around early afternoon, the boat was being towed back to shore.

"The Coast Guard is grateful for the responsiveness and dedication of our interagency partners in Buzzards Bay," said Lt. Pomajzl in a statement. "Everything they bring to the table improves the search and rescue system, and today they helped save six lives."

Although the ship's captain mentioned hitting a rock during his distress call to the Coast Guard, the official cause of the sinking is still under investigation,

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Kim Tunnicliffe reports

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