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Crew Members Recovering After Tugboat Sinks Off Long Island

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ATLANTIC BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Four crew members of a tugboat are recovering after a dramatic rescue Wednesday afternoon off the coast of Long Island.

For an unknown reason, the 38-foot towing vessel Sea Lion started taking on water near Atlantic Beach around 3 p.m., the Coast Guard said.

Professional photographer Bjoern Kils was doing commercial work on a boat two miles away when he heard the call for help on the radio and then rushed to the scene.

“There was a mayday issued. And once you hear the mayday issued, that means the boat is going under,” said Kils.

The Coast Guard saved three mariners. Minutes later, Kils and his team pulled the last of the tugboat crew members out of the frigid water.

“As we pulled up to the boat, the tugboat was maybe two feet of the boat left.  Just the bow sticking out and the guy was laying on top as the boat went under him,” said Kils. “He leaped to my boat just as his boat just went under in a broil of air and water and bubbles.”

The boat finally sank just after 4 p.m. One of the four mariners rescued had serious injuries, the Coast Guard said.

“I’m glad everybody’s safe,” Kils said. “I’m really glad nobody was below deck when the boat sank.”

The dramatic rescue happened just two days after another tugboat sank in the same area off Atlantic Beach.

That boat named Pushy and the 125-foot deck barge it was towing were separated after being struck by a large swell Monday night.

The barge ended up on the beach at Silver Point County Park. A mariner who was aboard the vessel at the time of the incident was rescued by a New York police helicopter.

The Coast Guard says there is no connection between the two sunken boats.

“Both the boats are still in bottom of the ocean so to really get to the root cause, we need to get our eyes on it. They are going to lift the two vessels up,” Coast Guard Commander Jeffrey Eldridge said.

Eldridge said the area is not known as a trouble spot for boats.

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