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35 Rescued From Disabled Sloop Clearwater In Hudson Off Alpine

Marine units fetching passengers from the sloop Clearwater.
Marine units fetching passengers from the sloop Clearwater. Photo Credit: COURTESY: PIP POLICE

ALPINE, N.J. -- Engine failure was to blame for disabling the sloop Clearwater on the Hudson River off Alpine on Monday, requiring police boats to rescue nearly three dozen passengers -- mostly children, officials said.

Marine units from the Palisades Interstate Parkway and Westchester County plucked 35 sight-seeing adults and children from the popular sloop after the call in just before 6 p.m. near the New York State line.

Another dozen or so crew members remained aboard the vessel, which was headed back to Yonkers with schoolchildren from the Westchester County town of Irvington.

"Our onboard education team kept everyone calm by playing games and singing song with the kids," said officials with the non-profit group Beacon, which owns the Clearwater.

Meanwhile "our amazing captain and crew followed protocol to ensure that all of our passengers [would] return safely to the dock in Yonkers," they said.

The 106-foot vessel was towed back, as well.

Launched in 1969, the Clearwater became a national symbol for activism to force a clean-up of the Hudson River following PCB contamination from industrial manufacturing by General Electric and other companies.

It was identified with the late Pete Seeger, one of the nation's most popular folk singers, who was named a "Clean Water Hero" for his prominent efforts in the passage of the federal Clean Water Act, one of the most successful environmental laws in the country.

Seeger, who died in 2014, and the non-profit were involved in a variety of Hudson watershed issues -- among them, development in the southern half of the Hudson Valley, pesticide runoff, the Manhattan west side waterfront, Indian Point nuclear reactors, and New York/New Jersey Harbor dredge spoil disposal.

Clearwater "played a key role in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to compel one of the Hudson River’s biggest polluters to begin removing toxic PCBs from the water and restoring one of the most polluted portions of the river," organizers said.

The vessel, is a replica of the cargo sloops that traveled the Hudson River in the 18th and 19th centuries, offers river tours from a variety of docks from Albany to New York City, April through October.

The PIP's Marine 1, 2, Westchester County Marine 2 removed the passengers, Parkway Police Chief Michael Coppola said.

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