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3 rescued 6½ hours after boat sinks in Pacific

7/18/2006

NEWPORT, Ore. — Three men survived 6½ hours in the Pacific Ocean by clinging to an ice chest after their boat sank about 45 miles off the Oregon coast, the Coast Guard said.

Only one was wearing a life jacket when a Coast Guard helicopter lifted them from the 65-degree water on Friday evening.

The search for the men, who were fishing for tuna, began around 1:30 p.m. when the Coast Guard received a call for help. Four helicopters, a search plane and two rescue boats responded. The men were found about 8 p.m.

"Because we didn't have a clear location as to where the boat went, we tried to send as many units out there as possible and cover the most ground," said Coast Guard spokesman Shawn Eggert.

He said Sunday that the incident was still under investigation.

In a Coast Guard recording of the emergency call, one of the men said the boat was taking on water rapidly and had lost power.

The boat was a 25- to 28-foot pleasure craft owned by Bob Templin, 53, Eggert said.

Templin said he was treated at and released from a hospital but was unwilling to speak about the incident. He said his two friends were in the hospital.

"He's a lucky man," Templin's wife, Anne, said.