Last week, on 31st August, U.S. Coast Guard, rescued 18 people from a passenger vessel which ran aground near the Columbia Glacier.
n particular, at 4:35 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center watchstanders overheard the ferry Aurora communicating with a vessel in distress.
According to Coast Guard the watchstanders relayed communications through the crew of the Aurora and determined that Lu-Lu Belle, a 75-foot glacier tour boat, had run aground in Columbia Bay with 19 people aboard.
Luckily, the vessel was high and dry, so all personnel were able to safely disembark onto solid ground for an aerial evacuation.
Two helicopters and a reaction boat were sent by the Coast Guard to the area to help the ship. With the exception of the captain, all of the passengers and crew could have been picked up by helicopter aircrews landing on the promontory during low tide.
Lu-Lu Belle became grounded near the glacier, and the passengers disembarked to affect rescue. The Coast Guard aircrews landed next to the vessel and safely transported all the passengers and crew to the Valdez airport by approximately 9:25 p.m.
The captain of the Lu-Lu Belle stayed aboard overnight and was able to refloat the vessel at high tide. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez is working with the crew of Lu-Lu Belle to conduct salvage operations and investigate the cause of the marine casualty.
I want to commend all of our teams on their swift and decisive actions resulting in a flawless rescue last night.
…said Coast Guard Cmdr. Scott Farr, search-and-rescue mission coordinator at Sector Anchorage.
The safe and effective rescue of every passenger on the Lu-Lu Belle is a testament to the attentiveness of our watch standers and readiness of our response crews from all of our units.