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Four rescued after ship sinks in Southeast Alaska

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the sinking of a fishing vessel that could be carrying up to 2,500 gallons of diesel in Southeast Alaska.

At about 10:46 p.m. Thursday, the 84-foot Mary Kay notified the Coast Guard that it was taking on water off Cape Chacon near South Prince of Wales Island, the Coast Guard reported.

By Friday morning, the vessel had sunk in 600 feet of water. The four-man crew is safe thanks to a quick response by good Samaritan ships.

The fishing vessel Irish Rose was the first to arrive on the scene. The vessel's crew helped the four stranded men of the Mary Kay get out of the water. The men appeared to be well prepared for the emergency, dressed in immersions suits and aboard a small liferaft.

Shortly after the Irish Rose arrived on the scene, an Alaska Wildlife Trooper skiff from Cordova Bay arrived to retrieve the rescued crew and transferred them to the North Wind, another good Samaritan ship in the area.

"We are investigating the cause of the sinking and any potential pollution, but it is unlikely the vessel will be recovered due to the depth of water it sank in," said Lt. Ryan Erickson, a search and rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Juneau, in a news release. "We were very fortunate to have so many good Samaritans respond to this sinking which limited the amount of time the crew was exposed to the elements."