Authorities rescue 45 people from sinking whale-watching boat in San Juans

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- The U.S. Coast Guard said crews rescued 45 people from a whale-watching boat that was taking on water Thursday in the San Juan Islands.

According to Coast Guard officials, the 60-foot catamaran named 4ever Wild purposefully ran aground on a beach at Smith Island after taking on water.

A boat crew from station Bellingham and a helicopter crew from Port Angeles were called to the scene after 12:30 p.m. Good Samaritans in the area also helped with the rescue effort.

Officials said everyone was moved safely off the sinking boat except for four crew members who were working with the Coast Guard with salvage.

The tour company was sending two more boats to take the passengers back to Victoria, British Columbia.