Three people were pulled from the frigid waters of the Boston Harbor cold but alive after their 55-foot tugboat sank suddenly Tuesday morning.
The U.S. Coast Guard says that the captain aboard tug Emily Anne contacted watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Boston to report that vessel suffered a hull and was taking on water in the North Channel entrance of Boston Harbor about 5 miles east of Deer Island.
A nearby crew aboard the good Samaritan pilot boat Chelsea, from the Boston Harbor Pilot Association, heard the report over the radio and rushed to the scene, recovering the three people as the Emily Anne sank.
According to media reports, the two of the people were rescued from the water wearing only lifejackets, while the third managed to climb inside the tug’s inflatable liferaft.
A response boat crew from Coast Guard Station Point Allerton escorted the pilot boat back to the Boston Harbor Pilots Association pier where emergency medical personnel evaluated the three rescued people.
“Given the nature of the emergency, if not for the quick and heroic response of the Chelsea crew, their lives may have been lost,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Darin Crozier, a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Boston.
Despite exposure to the cold, all three people were reported to be in good health.
“We were out there and able to help,” said Captain Shawn Kelly, from the Boston Harbor Pilot Association. “If we had been in trouble, I know they would have done the same.”
Attempts to locate the sunken tug Tuesday were hampered by weather. The Coast Guard has established safety zone encompassing part of the North Channel that prohibits transit of deep draft vessels. A search for the tug will continue Wednesday morning.