Coast Guard rescues 3 people after high winds wash fishing boat onto rocks

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. — U.S. Coast Guard boat crews rescued three people after their fishing boat washed onto the rocks near Bellingham.

The Coast Guard was called around 5:30 a.m. to Squalicum Harbor after the 57-foot fishing vessel Bergen broke away from the pier.

“We were maneuvering in very shallow water and all the wind and waves were pushing against the stern of the small boat and pushing us against the vessel on the rocks,” said Chief Warrant Officer Charles Chavtur, commanding officer of Station Bellingham and coxswain of the RBM. “This storm is impressive and creating some very hazardous conditions across the area.  People should avoid being on or near the water.”

Three men were safely taken by boat to the Bellingham station around 7:15 a.m. Thursday. One of the men was taken to the hospital after he showed signs of hypothermia.

The Coast Guard and Department of Ecology sent pollution responders to salvage the vessel. Officials said there could be 1,500 gallons of diesel on board.

There were 5-foot seas, 40-knot winds and 50-knot gusts at the time.