- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2005

OXNARD, Calif. (AP) — Members of the U.S. Coast Guard worked through the night to free a two-masted sailing ship that ran aground near a rock jetty, forcing dramatic rescues in churning waters.

All 20 persons aboard the ship were brought to shore Monday afternoon after the ship became stuck in a sandbar.

Authorities said rough surf knocked at least four persons off the boat into the 58-degree water. They were picked up by rescue workers in personal watercraft. The rest of the group, wearing life jackets, followed rescuers’ orders and one by one jumped off the lurching boat as waves rolled over the deck. They also were picked up.

Officials accounted for all aboard, said U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Prentice Danner.

Three of the passengers were taken to hospitals to be treated for hypothermia. The rest received food and clothing from the Red Cross.

The vessel was identified as the Irving Johnson, a brigantine completed in 2003 for the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s TopSail Youth Program.

The boat was being used for a seven-day team-building trip through the Channel Islands by students from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, said Laura Trulson, the institute’s education director. Ten students and 10 crew were aboard the boat, she said. She did not know how the vessel got into trouble.

Officials said the incident is under investigation and that authorities were working with the institute to pull the boat out to sea.

At one point, a rescue boat tugged on the vessel with a tow line, straining to pull it bow-first into the waves, but to no avail.

The vessel is 90 feet long, with 4,450 square feet of sail, a rigging height of nearly 88 feet and a diesel engine.

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