Saturday, October 06, 2007

Leaking Ship Full Of Kids Reaches Port

Rescuers went to the aid of a leaking tall ship carrying 42 children Friday afternoon about six miles off the coast of Long Beach. The 130-foot schooner, American Pride, began taking on water sometime around noon. Fire crews and U.S. Coast Guard boats were sent to the scene to assist, and no injuries had been reported. The ship was headed back to Rainbow Harbor, where additional crews were headed to help off-load passengers. No one had to be evacuated from the ship and it was never at risk of sinking, according to Helen Clinton, director of the Children's Maritime Foundation, which operates the American Pride. "She took on a little bit of water, and to be conservative (the crew) called the Coast Guard and asked them to stand by," Clinton said. "Her waterline was never low, she was never listing, she was sailing just fine."The children were returning from a five-day educational trip to Catalina Island during which the students do science experiments and participate in living history demonstrations, Clinton said. "They put on their life vests, and they were just hanging out watching the show," Clinton said. The students are from Polytechnic High in Pasadena. The American Pride, a three-mast schooner built in 1941 and originally used as a fishing ship in New England, is known as "the children's ship" because of the educational programs it has offered for almost 12 years. Clinton said the ship is used for "hundreds" of school trips each year, among other uses such as weddings and whale watching. The ship is scheduled to sail this weekend during the 18th annual Buccaneer Days at Two Harbors at Catalina Island.

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