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Sinking Boat Is Evacuated In Boston Harbor

[soundslide]http://www.wbur.org/files/soundslides/2010/wbur_0703_ship-sinking[/soundslide]

A tour boat with 174 people on board continues to take on water after running aground near Deer Island shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

All of the passengers and crew on the M.V Massachusetts, a commercial ship run out of Rowe's Wharf, have been successfully evacuated. A rescue boat took the 168 passengers and six crew-members to the Town of Hull.

Winthrop Deputy Harbormaster Chuck Evans says the boat's operaters reported they collided with rocks at Devil's Back Ledge while traveling at about 18 knots.

The Coast Guard is investigating the incident. Coast Guard Petty Officer Connie Terrell says the ship's captain and crew are undergoing drug and alcohol tests.

"We're interviewing the crew as well as the passengers that were on board to try to see if we can determine what happened," Terrell said.

Terrell reported one knee injury and one back injury after the incident.

The ship remains in the Harbor, but Terrell says it has been moved from the channel in the entrance to Boston Harbor. There, a towboat circled the sinking Massachusetts as crews tried to pumped water out of the ship. Underwater, divers worked to patch the gash in the ship's hull.

Katherine Williams, of the Massachusetts Environmental Police, says the area of the harbor where the boat ran aground has been problematic for ships in the past.

Bruce Rohr was aboard a boat nearby when he saw the Massachusetts being evacuated.

"The bow was definitely tipped into the water," Rohr said. " As the front is diving into the water, the back raises out — it was completely out of the water."

WBUR's Andrew Phelps and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This program aired on July 3, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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