UPDATE 1-Sightseeing vessel runs aground in Alaskan bay, 76 rescued

Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:42am IST

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By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska Aug 19 (Reuters) - Seventy-six people were rescued on Sunday from a sightseeing vessel that ran aground in Alaska's Glacier Bay and began filling with water, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

None of the passengers and crew members aboard the 79-foot (24.1-meter) Baranof Wind was seriously hurt, though some minor injuries were reported, Coast Guard Petty Officer David Mosley said.

Most of the passengers were safely transferred to a large Holland America cruise ship, the Vollendam, which was in the area and responded to the emergency, and two people were taken aboard a National Park Service vessel, the Coast Guard said.

A Coast Guard cutter and helicopter also were dispatched to the scene.

Four crew members from the Baranof Wind remained aboard the tour boat and worked with Coast Guard personnel to pump water out of the vessel and keep it from sinking, the Coast Guard said. The boat was stabilized after the accident, and there were no immediate signs of spills or other pollution, Mosley said.

The boat's owner was arranging to tow the vessel into port, he said.

The accident was reported to the Coast Guard at about 11 a.m. local time (1900 GMT) and it has begun an investigation, Mosley said.

Glacier Bay, at the northern end of southeastern Alaska's Inside Passage, is a major tourist destination known for its spectacular scenery and marine life. (Editing by Paul Simao)