Coast Guard locates, guides Mexican Navy to missing men

8th Coast Guard District NewsNEW ORLEANS — A Coast Guard flight crew located two men Sunday, who were reported missing between Brownsville, Texas and Tampico, Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico.

Missing were Manuel Gallardo Castillo and Faulsto Gomez Jr.

At approximately 3 p.m., Saturday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi, Texas received a call from the agent of the shrimping vessel, El Abuelo, that the vessel had not arrived at its next port of call. The two men left Brownsville, Thursday and were expected to come into Tampico, Friday.

Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi launched an HU-25 Falcon fixed-wing aircraft and crew to search along the intended track line of the vessel.

The Falcon crew located and made radio contact with the El Abuelo at approximately 1 a.m., Sunday. The men reported that they had become disabled with a malfunctioning fuel pump. The 8th Coast Guard District command center watchstanders relayed this information to the Mexican Navy, who launched one of their vessels to assist the El Abuelo. The vessel arrived on scene at approximately 1:30 p.m., and took the El Abuelo in tow.

“The success of this response can be attributed to the diligent adherence to standardized practices,” said Lt. Matt Kor, 8th District command duty officer. “We have checklists and standard operating procedures for everything from answering the phone to launching the aircraft that located the vessel, but what really made the difference was a float plan. If these men hadn’t had a pre-arranged float plan with their agent this case may have turned out much differently.”

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