The Coast Guard is responding to a cruise ship that ran aground this morning after taking on water in the Intercoastal Waterway near the Pungo region of Virginia Beach, Va.
The cruise ship Spirit of Nantucket with 66 people onboard notified the Coast Guard after the vessel began taking on water. The captain of the vessel purposely ran it aground to prevent the ship from sinking. An MH-60 Jayhawk Rescue Helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., is en-route with dewatering pumps.
Two 25-foot rescue crews and a 41-foot utility boat from Coast Guard Station
's Elizabeth City and Portsmouth, Virginia Beach Police Department, Virginia State Police Department and a Chesapeake, Va., marine unit are also responding. Passengers have donned personal flotation devices for their safety, and the Coast Guard and local authorities are removing passengers from the ship.