Coast Guard investigates crash of 2 fishing boats

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SEATTLE (AP) -- The Coast Guard is investigating a collision between two fishing vessels off the Washington coast that apparently happened when the pilot of the bigger one fell asleep.

Damage to the 49-foot, Ilwaco, Wash.-based Columbian Star is estimated at $150,000 from Thursday's crash. The Astoria, Ore.-based 64-foot Ocean Beaut suffered only minor damage.

No injuries were reported.

Petty Officer Nathan Bradshaw says the boats were about 10 miles west of Willapa Bay, Wash., when they collided. The Columbian Star was trawling and unable to avoid the crash due to its limited mobility. Bradshaw says the pilot of the Ocean Beaut told the Coast Guard he fell asleep. He was not identified.

The agency says the impact caused the Columbian Star's mast to fall into the water. The vessel's dragnet and other gear were also lost but the crew marked the spot on GPS in hopes of salvaging the items later.