Longliner runs aground near airport


A longliner ran aground near the airport this morning and its crewmembers had to deploy life rafts to get to shore.

Frank Thomsen of the US Coast Guard said except for minor scratches all 22 people on board the Seahawk 68 are safe.

Crewmembers used life rafts from the vessel to float towards Coconut Point, where a team of first responders awaited them.

The rough weather made rescue efforts by Marine Patrol very difficult.

A small craft and high surf advisories have been in effect since early this week.

Commissioner of Public Safety Save Liuato Tuitele said he is thankful all persons on board are safe.

The crewmembers received medical attention and DPS transported them to the Fagatogo station.

When we spoke to the commissioner around 9 this morning, Save said they were looking for a translator to communicate with the crew..

He did not know the crewmembers’ nationalitites at the time.

The Coast Guard is now investigating what happened and holding discussions on how to safely offload any hazardous materials on board the vessel.