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Capsized Spirit of Sacramento drained, en route to Sausalito

A salvage crew works on the Spirit of Sacramento, a paddlewheel boat that previously provided tours of the Sacramento River and the Delta, which sunk in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta near Bethel Island.
A salvage crew works on the Spirit of Sacramento, a paddlewheel boat that previously provided tours of the Sacramento River and the Delta, which sunk in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta near Bethel Island. mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

The 87-foot paddlewheel boat Spirit of Sacramento that capsized Sept. 4 is en route Thursday afternoon from the Bethel Island area to Sausalito.

The Spirit of Sacramento began taking on water late Sept. 3 and capsized Sept. 4, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Adam Stanton, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard, said the drainage process began 3 p.m. Wednesday in preparation for moving the vessel.

“Salvagers went out and rigged chains to attach to a crane,” Stanton said.

Stanton said the crane was carefully raised enough to withstand the vessel’s weight and the water and sediments were drained. A news release states that the crane’s boom was placed in predetermined locations to protect wildlife and sensitive areas.

Stanton said the Spirit of Sacramento is being towed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility in Sausalito, where oil and fuel will be removed. The journey began about noon Thursday and was expected to take about eight to 10 hours with the boat being towed less than 6 mph, he said.

The vessel once operated as a tour boat, taking passengers up and down the Sacramento River and into the Delta. Sacramento city officials replaced the company that operated the craft, Sacramento Yacht Charters, with Hornblower Cruises and Events in 2009.

The 87-foot paddlewheel boat The Spirit of Sacramento began taking on water late Saturday night and capsized early Sunday morning near Bethel Island in Contra Costa County, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Jessica Hice: 916-321-1550, @JesserPea

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