UPDATE: Whale watching vessel sinks, passengers crew rescued by Good Samaritans

    Mike Clasby, of Juneau Radio Center, was the tour narrator on the Dolphin Jet Boat Tours vessel "Big Red" and gave News of the North an exclusive interview saying they hit a rock and starting taking on water quickly. Mike made the split second decision to get everyone into a life jacket. Mike says he was in the water for over 20 minutes, but is extremely thankful he had an anchor to hold on to. He sends a big thank you to Mike and Erin on the Sea Ya for helping get himself and everyone to safety.

    The Coast Guard has confirmed earlier reports that all 16 passengers and both crew members were rescued from a sinking whale watching tour boat.

    Good Samaritan vessels, Capital City Fire Rescue and Coast Guard Sector Juneau helped in the rescue of 18 people from the 35-foot whale-watching motor vessel Big Red in Favorite Channel near Juneau.

    Mike Clasby, of Juneau Radio Center, was the tour narrator on the Dolphin Jet Boat Tours vessel and gave News of the North an exclusive interview saying they hit a rock and starting taking on water quickly. Mike made the split second decision to get everyone into a life jacket. He and three others were the only ones that were in the water:

    Listen to Mike's account of his harrowing tale:

    Mike says he was in the water for over 20 minutes, but is extremely thankful he had an anchor to hold on to.  He sends a big thank you to Mike and Erin on the Sea Ya for helping get himself and everyone to safety.

    With the help of the recreational vessel Sea Ya, all 16 passengers and two crewmembers were recovered and embarked onto the motor vessel St. Herman from Allen Marine. They were then transported to Allen Marine Dock to await Coast Guard and emergency medical personnel. There was one knee injury reported.

    Watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector Juneau received the call from a crewmember of the Big Red reporting they were taking on water in Favorite Channel Sunday afternoon. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting any vessels in the area to assist.

    The original story can be read below.


    Reports show a whale watching tour boat carrying possibly 16 passengers and 2 crew members sank off Shelter Island near Juneau Sunday just after noon.

    A Dolphin Jet Boat Tours representative said it's believed all passengers and crew were transported safely from the scene.

    A witness to the distress call, Alicia Pasterski of Juneau Radio Center, said the boat that sank was the Big Red and was assisted by an Allen Marine vessel. She also stated the Good Samaritans assisted before authorities had time to arrive.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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