Fishing boat runs aground on Atlantic City, New Jersey beach

August 19, 2013 4:06:15 PM PDT
It was quite a surprise for Atlantic City beach goers Monday morning when the Jessica Heather, a 56-foot fishing vessel, ran aground on the beach.

"I got a call around 8:00 a.m.," said the Office of Emergency Management's Tom Foley. "We secured the area with the beach patrol people."

The Office of Emergency Management worked closely with the Coast Guard and deemed the beach safe. The boat became an unintended tourist attraction.

"Amazing!" said Sandy Stottlemyar. "Lots of pictures!"

"I feel bad for the boat captain, but it was fun to watch," said Suzanne Zak of Doylestown, Pa.

Fortunately there were no injuries to the 3 crew members on board.

Initial reports stated the captain fell asleep at the helm. But the Coast Guard says this is still under investigation.

"I don't want to speculate," said Coast Guard Lieutenant Tim Feese. "Luckily it didn't hit the pier at Caesar's and cause more damage."

Crews had to leave the ship here because they needed the help from the high tide. Many factors made this rescue a delicate operation.

"Currently it has about a thousand gallons of diesel on board," said Feese. "We want to make sure the contractor who is removing the vessel does so as safely as possible so there is no harm to the environment."

There was no word if charges or a fine could come against the captain. It is an ongoing investigation.

One crew member was arrested for traffic warrants that had nothing to do with the boat washing ashore.

The plan to let the high tide help lift the boat and take it back out to sea worked. By 6:00 p.m., the vessel was off the shore and underway, headed back to its home port nearby in Atlantic City.


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