Four fishing buddies from San Antonio were casting from a 25-foot center console Saturday near oil rigs east of Port O’Connor, Texas, when the boat began to rapidly take on water.
They were in the water before they could call for help, but all were wearing life jackets. After they spent the night drifting in the Gulf of Mexico, three of them were found and rescued about 1 p.m. Sunday by the crew of the oil rig supply vessel Go America.
The fourth man, a 37-year-old, had drifted away from his friends. A Coast Guard search through the rest of the day turned up nothing.
About 8:30 p.m., lookouts on the tanker Pacific Marchioness heard cries for help coming from the water. The tanker quickly relayed the information to watchstanders at the Sector Corpus Christi Command Center, who diverted a crew on an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter that already was airborne and engaged in the search for the missing angler.
The helicopter arrived three minutes after the Pacific Marchioness made contact with watchstanders. After a brief search, the air crew located the man and hoisted him aboard, 30 hours after he went into the water. Luckily for the anglers, water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico were in the mid-80s.
“We are extremely happy to have found and brought this man to safety after he was in the water for over 24 hours,” Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Allan, the search-and-rescue mission coordinator for the case, said in a statement.
“The positive outcome of this case is due to the maximum effort we put into the search and the fact that he was wearing a life jacket. Credit goes to the crew of the Go America for finding the first three men and the crew of the Pacific Marchioness for keeping a sharp lookout for a known person in distress. The actions of both of these crews contributed greatly to the happy ending of this case.”
The man was being treated for dehydration at Spohn Memorial Hospital and was in stable condition. The cause of the boat sinking was not immediately clear.