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Two dead aboard grounded freighter

November 27, 1997

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ High winds drove a foreign freighter aground, leaving two crewmen dead and 20 others stranded for hours off Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands 800 miles southwest of here.

The 386-foot vessel Kuroshima went aground Wednesday afternoon in 90 mph winds about 100 yards offshore from Dutch Harbor, the Coast Guard said.

Lt. Steve McCleary said the vessel, which has about 240,000 gallons of fuel aboard, did not appear in danger of breaking apart since it had been stable on Priest Rock for several hours. The crew was not in immediate danger and was rescued, officials said.

The ship was in port to load frozen seafood.

The ship’s chief mate apparently died of a heart attack, but officials had few details about either victim.

McCleary said strong winds and snow squalls made it too risky to try rescuing the crew with helicopter or small boats.

Instead, the Coast Guard relied on an ages-old shore-based technique. The freighter’s crew shot a light line to shore. The Coast Guard retrieved the line and attached a tow line that was hauled back to the freighter.

The Coast Guard team held on to the other end of the line and pulled the freighter’s life boat to shore with a front-end loader.

The bulk freighter, a Panamanian-flagged Japanese owned ship, was in water between 4 feet and 7 feet deep, the Coast Guard said.

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