Towboat pulls beached fishing vessel into deeper waters off Atlantic City

    The 56-foot fishing vessel that ran aground near the Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City early Monday is now out in deeper waters.

    A towboat arrived on the scene late afternoon, hooked a line to the stranded boat’s bow, and slowly began to pull it out to sea shortly before 6:00 p.m. Monday.

    The captain of “Jessica Heather” reportedly fell asleep while the vessel was on autopilot, resulting in the stranding shortly after midnight Monday, Chief of Atlantic City Office of Emergency Management Tom Foley said.

    “You figure how many boats are out there and other ships and everything, it’s a very dangerous situation,” Chief Foley told NBC10’s Ted Greenberg. “Just thank God it didn’t hit the pier.”

    The Atlantic City Webcam, positioned on the pier, captured the drama unfold.

    Curious beachgoers began to approach the vessel earlier today, prompting authorities to close off a perimeter as precaution against the boat potentially listing to one side, which would endanger the public, authorities said. In the distance, it was business as usual, with the camera showing bathers enjoy the warm ocean. 

    An investigation revealed no environmental threats, US Coast Guard Petty Officer Cindy Oldham told The Press of Atlantic City.

    But the stranding remains under investigation, which may result in charges against the captain, Coast Guard Lt. Commander C.K. Moore told the newspaper. 

    No injuries were reported.

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