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Seven pulled from the waters of Wasp Passage after crabbing boat runs aground near Shaw Island
Story update: Alcohol is believed to played a role in the grounding of the commercial crabbing boat that ran aground on Low Island early Friday, shortly after midnight, according to San Juan County Sheriff Rob Nou.
Seven crew members were rescued from the waters of Wasp Passage, including the owner and operator of the 22-foot fiberglass boat, Henry Jackson, 42, of Suquamish. Two of the seven men pulled from the water, Frank Olsen of Lummi and a 17-year-old male from Chehalis, were airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham with broken bones and for treatment of hypothermia, according to a statement released by the Sheriff's department.
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Seven people were rescued from the waters of Wasp Passage early Friday after a 22-foot crabbing boat ran aground off the northwest shore of Shaw Island shortly after midnight.
Six of those pulled from the water suffered injuries, two of whom were airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital with broken bones and hypothermia.
A San Juan County's Sheriff's boat was sent to the scene after the boat ran aground near Low Island, located at the west entrance of Wasp passage. Sheriff Rob Nou said the department is still gathering information about the individuals onboard and the circumstances that led to the boat's grounding. It was under full power when struck the rocks, he said.
"The deputies responding to the scene were confronted with people in the water, hypothermic people and injured people," he said. "At that point it was a grab and run kind of thing."
Since the boat is a commercial crabbing vessel, Nou said the U.S. Coast Guard will head up the investigation into its grounding. The boat is registered to the Suquamish tribe out of Bellingham, he said.
Washington state Department of Ecology spokesman Larry Altose said the agency "broke off from the case" shortly after 6 a.m., after members of the locally-based Islands Oil Spill Association verified that there was no risk of an oil spill. He said the 22-foot boat was apparently powered by an outboard motor and a 5-gallon fuel tank.
According to the Seattle Times, a Coast Guard spokeswoman noted there were only four life jackets onboard the boat at the time it hit the rocks, and it's unclear whether the crew was crabbing at the time.
— Scott Rasmussen