Coast Guard rescues 2 brothers after vessel runs aground in lower Laguna Madre

America's Heartland Coast Guard News

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — An 18-year-old adult and a six-yeard-old child were rescued by the Coast Guard after their vessel ran aground north of Green Island, in lower Laguna Madre, Sunday.

The 18-year-old on the vessel contacted Coast Guard Station South Padre Island at 4:45 p.m., on his cellphone, Saturday afternoon. The man requested high-tide information and told the watchstander that he and his six-year-old brother’s 18-foot vessel had become disabled after departing from a boat ramp in Adolph Thomae Jr. Park for a fishing trip, and had run aground in the Arroyo Colorado River. The man stated that although they had run aground they were not in distress. He also stated that his cellphone was losing power.

Coast Guard Station South Padre Island diverted crews aboard a 33-foot Law Enforcement Special Purpose Craft (SPC-LE) and 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water (SPC-SW) response boat, at 5:15 p.m., to respond after several failed attempts to contact the man on his cellphone. In addition, Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi launched an aircrew aboard an HU-25 Falcon fixed-wing aircraft.

After extensive searches in the Arroyo Colorado River and surrounding area, the Coast Guard command center in Corpus Christi was able to obtain an updated location of the grounded vessel using positioning information garnered from cellphone towers that were utilized during the man’s last few phone calls.

Air Station Corpus Christi launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew to the updated position and the vessel was located at 12:30 a.m., Sunday, in the lower Laguna Madre, North of Green Island.

The rescue crew hoisted the two and transported them to Cameron County Airport where they were reunited with their father.

No injuries were reported.

“In this particular case, having a marine-band VHF-FM radio and other safety equipment, like flares, or other signaling devices, would have been helpful in order to guide rescue crews to the correct location and may have resulted in a more timely rescue,” said Cmdr. Ed Gaynor. “A cellphone is not always reliable due to spotty coverage off-shore and battery-life limitations.”

The Coast Guard recommends mariners to ensure that their vessel is outfitted with a VHF-FM marine-band radio and other required safety equipment prior to getting underway. Having these items will enable the Coast Guard and other law enforcement entities to better locate and respond to boaters during emergency situations such as these. For more information on safe boating practices, visit uscgboating.org.

A Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrew poses with two brothers they rescued after their vessel ran aground in lower Laguna Madre, Texas, Nov. 18, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
A Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrew poses with two brothers they rescued after their vessel ran aground in lower Laguna Madre, Texas, Nov. 18, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

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