Crabber's boat runs aground near Newport

NEWPORT, Ore. -- A fishing boat out of Newport that had just set its crab pots for the first catch of the season ran aground Saturday just off the South Jetty. The captain of The Nat had to be taken to a local hospital. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Casey Comer from Yaquina Bay Station says the first distress call came in around 3:30PM Saturday. The Nat ran aground about fifty feet off the shore. Comer says it's not currently known why The Nat ran aground.

There were two other crew members on board besides the captain. All three crew members swam to shore. They were treated for possible hypothermia on shore.

By Sunday afternoon the Coast Guard had brought in heavy equipment to free The Nat and offload the fuel still on board. With the tide out, The Nat was sitting in about two feet of water. The Coast Guard reports that there was about 700 gallons of diesel fuel still on board.

The boat was removed by a salvage team Sunday night, the Coast Guard said.

Dungeness crab crews were given approval to set their pots along the Oregon Coast on Friday morning. It's expected those fishing crews will start hauling in their pots late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

The dungeness crab season was supposed to begin on Dec. 1, but pre-season testing of crabs showed that they needed more time to meet the State-mandated minimum for meat content.