The captain of the catamaran, Cavalier, radioed to Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders at 2:19 p.m., stating that a 44-year-old passenger was suffering diabetic shock and had a heart attack. Another passenger aboard was a doctor and was able to keep the man stable until the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter arrived from Coast Guard Air Station Houston to medevac him about an hour and a half later.
“We are incredibly thankful that one of the passengers onboard the charter vessel was a doctor,” said Lt. Melissa McCafferty, the command duty officer responsible for coordinating the rescue. “Because of this, he was able to rapidly identify the problem and stabilize the patient so the Coast Guard could effect a safe and orderly rescue and transport the individual to the closest hospital.”
The man was taken to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for further treatment. He was in stable condition.
The calm sunny day became hectic very quickly in the Coast Guard command center as this call and another came in at the same time. The other involved a boat that was sinking with seven people aboard off Freeport. They called and reported they were taking on water and then contact was lost. In addition to sending a helicopter to medevac the diabetic man, the watchstanders had an airplane from Corpus Christi diverted from patrol, organized a good Samaritan nearby and six offshore supply vessels to head toward the sinking boat and they launched a rescue boat and cutter from Coast Guard Station Freeport to search for the seven people assumed to be in the water.
Once closer to shore, the boat radioed in that they had stopped the flooding, but lost long range communications to let the Coast Guard know they were okay.