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Hearing Resumes Into Lady Mary Sinking

For two to three hours after a scallop boat is believed to have sunk off Cape May, the Coast Guard heard no mayday calls or any other radio reports that something was wrong.

That was the testimony Monday from two Coast Guard officers as the agency resumed its hearing into the sinking of the Lady Mary, which went down off Cape May on March 24. Only one the seven crew members survived.

Four members of the same Pamlico County family died in the accident.

The lapse in time from when the boat is believed to have sunk, and when the Coast Guard first heard something was wrong continued to be a main focus of the inquiry. The hearing was suspended in April to allow the ship's captain to hire a lawyer.

A Coast Guard inspector says the Lady Mary passed a safety inspection last July.

A Coast Guard inspector says a fishing boat that sank in March, killing six people, had passed a safety inspection last July.

Aldo Guerino, a Coast Guard auxiliary safety inspector, examined the Lady Mary and found it to be safe and seaworthy, terming it "a nice boat."

He testified Monday as the Coast Guard resumed its hearing into the boat's sinking.

Only one of the seven crewmen aboard the Lady Mary survived when the boat sank southeast of Cape May on March 24.

Guerino says the boat had a life raft capable of supporting eight people, and a three-day food supply.

But the lone survivor of the sinking says the boat went down within minutes. That could mean the crew didn't have time to get into the raft.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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