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Pumps Used to Save $1-Million Tug That Hit Submerged Rock in Harbor

Firefighters used pumps to save a $1-million tugboat from sinking in Fish Harbor off San Pedro on Sunday after a rock ripped a large gash in the vessel’s hull.

Swamped with water, the Golden Eagle was finally secured by a commercial diver, who temporarily patched the hole, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Jim Wells said.

“The deck was under water,” Wells said. “They thought they were going to lose it a couple of times.”

The tug was maneuvering in the harbor at about 6 a.m. Sunday when it struck a submerged rock, tearing a 2-foot-by-3-foot rip in the forward hull. Although the boat quickly took on water, the crew of the 15-foot pusher-type tug was able to pull into a berth, Wells said.

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The crew--two men, a woman and two children--got off the boat unharmed. Authorities were not able to provide their names.

Firefighters began pumping operations to save the boat at 6:15 a.m. But four fireboats using siphon ejector and engine-driven pumps slowed the tug’s slippage into the water, but were unable to stop the flow of water, Well said.

Finally, 4 1/2 hours later, a commercial diver patched the hole as firefighters continued to siphon water from the craft.

The tug was later towed to nearby Larson Boat Works for what Wells described as extensive repairs.

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