San Diego fishing boat sinks off coast

Posted at 11:04 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-14 02:29:38-04

A San Diego fishing boat got help off the coast of Mexico from a tug boat towing part of a space ship.

The Coast Guard says Captain Keith Denette, his crew, and his boat Maximus were 350 miles south of San Diego when their boat sank.

Captain Buzz Brizendine docked next to Denette at Fisherman's Landing in Point Loma. 

“It’s kind of like one of your own and it’s cause for concern," he said. “There’s just not many details that we’ve got.”

The tug boat Shannon Dann came across the crew in distress as they were heading to the California Science Center, towing a 154-foot space shuttle external tank known as "ET-94."

Dennis Jenkins is coordinating the trip, and says he got a 10-word satellite message from the Shannon Dann: "We rescued 4 people off a sinking fishing boat tonight."

"Getting rescued by a tug towing a space shuttle external tank has to be one of the more unusual stories that they will get to tell," he said.

Jenkins said one of the men on the Maximus was a Mexican national and returned to Mexico; the other three men will ride the Shannon Dann home to San Diego.

Captain Brizendine is just glad his friend lived to dock beside him again.

"The concern is always alleviated when you find out everyone is ok," Brizendine said.

Jenkins said the crew of the tug boat sends out a short report from the sea every 12 hours by satellite phone.

The tug boat will dock in San Diego Sunday, and then finish the voyage to Los Angeles.

ET-94 will be displayed with the space shuttle Endeavour, positioned vertically, as if ready for launch.