Coast Guard and good Samaritans rescue 4 fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard and a Mexican shrimper rescued four Mexican fishermen Wednesday after their boat sank about 22 miles offshore of South Padre Island.

At approximately 6 p.m., the crew of the tanker Yunga contacted watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi Command Center to notify them that they saw two men clinging to a capsized Mexican fishing vessel 1 mile north of the maritime border.

The watchstanders diverted an HU-25 Falcon search and rescue aircraft to provide assistance. They quickly located the two about 20 minutes after the initial call and dropped a life raft to them. The Coast Guard Cutter Manta arrived on scene and recovered them from the life raft. Upon interviewing the crewmen, the Coast Guard learned that two additional crewmembers were missing and had been in the water since 8 a.m., last seen swimming toward nearby ships.

With the new information, the watchstanders diverted a Mobile, Alabama, based HC-144 fixed wing surveillance aircraft, launched an aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Sector Corpus Christi, and launched boatcrews aboard a 33-foot interceptor and a 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station South Padre Island to search for the two missing men. Additionally, the watch standers put out an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast asking mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout for persons in the water.

At 11:30 p.m., the Mexican shrimping vessel Don Isaac, having heard the Coast Guard’s radio broadcasts, reported that they heard cries for help coming from the water. Shortly after, the crew of the Don Isaac notified the Coast Guard that they had recovered the two missing crewmembers 5 miles south of the border and 24 miles offshore.

“We arrived on scene to find two men clinging to the bow of the sinking vessel,” said Lt. Travis Gagnon, one of the pilots aboard the HU-25 Guardian. “We immediately made preparations to drop a life raft to them. Our drop master made an accurate delivery and the men were safely on board when we made our second pass. Our crew is tremendously happy to help two mariners in distress and allow them to be brought back to safety from their ordeal.”

The two fishermen recovered by the Coast Guard were taken to Station South Padre Island where they were checked out by EMS and then turned over to Customs and Border Protection for return to Mexico. The two men recovered by the Don Julio are being transported to Playa Costa Azul. All men are reported to be in good condition.



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