San Diego

Sleeping Fishing Crew Shocked When Ship Runs Aground in Mission Beach

Nearly two dozen people were found aboard a fishing ship that ran aground in Mission Beach Friday morning.

A 65-foot-long motor vessel, dubbed the Pacifica, hit shore at around 4:45 a.m. near San Fernando Place, just south of Belmont Park, according to the San Diego Police Department.

“Thank God it was sand and not rocks or anything else like that. So, it was, I guess, as peaceful a crash landing as you could have,” said Ray Maestro, a bluefin tuna fisherman who was aboard the ship when it crashed.

Petty Officer Mark Barney from the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that 20 people were found aboard the ship, including four crew members.

Maestro told NBC 7 he and other fishers came up from their bunks and had to wade out to shore.

“I thought my beach days were over in the 70s, so I didn’t think I was going to be wading in the water here to the beach, so that’s kind of a different wake-up call,” he said.

Maestro has been fishing since 1973, and he said he’s never experienced anything like this before.

Crews began to try to tow the ship with the help of the rising tide.

“Little challenge because of the rocking and the swell coming in. And there is some movement,” said San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rich Stropky. “As water becomes deeper under the Pacifica, they should be able to get it off the sandbar.”

The fishers’ belongings could be seen wrapped in blue bags, as they regrouped on shore.

Officers said medics were requested to the area, though no injuries have been reported so far.

The Pacifica did not appear to be damaged, Stropky told NBC 7, as the landing was “not very abrupt.”

The cause of the crash is not known at this time, but Barney confirmed that they are investigating reports that the people involved were asleep or were driving under the influence at the time of the grounding.

SDPD, San Diego Lifeguards, and San Diego Fire-Rescue responded to the scene.

No other information was available.

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