Coast Guard rescues four fishermen near South Padre Island, Texas

Coast Guard Cutter Alligator file photo

Coast Guard Cutter Alligator file photo

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard crews rescued four fishermen from a sinking commercial fishing vessel 5 miles east of South Padre Island, Texas, Monday evening.

At 6:20 p.m., the captain of the fishing vessel Ben & Casey contacted Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders on VHF Channel 16 to report the vessel was taking on water and in need of assistance.

Two Coast Guard Station South Padre Island response boatcrews arrived on scene at 6:41 p.m. and passed dewatering pumps to the crew of the Ben & Casey. A Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew arrived shortly after to pass another dewatering pump to the vessel. The pumps were unable to keep up with the rate of flooding due to debris, and all persons aboard were transferred to a Station South Padre Island response boat.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Alligator arrived on scene at 7:02 p.m. Once the vessel was inspected and deemed safe to board, two crewmembers, along with a larger dewatering pump, were transferred to the Ben & Casey.

The vessel was later taken in tow by its sister ship, Blood & Guts. As the rate of flooding increased, all Coast Guard personnel were removed from the vessel.

The Blood & Guts crew later broke tow as the Ben & Casey sank. The Cutter Alligator crew will remain on scene with the sunken vessel and begin inspection and debris recovery tomorrow morning.

“The quick response of our crews to rescue these four fishermen was made possible by the excellent communication of the Ben & Casey’s crew, and our ability to easily verify their location using their onboard EPIRB,” said Chief Petty Officer Michael Comess, command duty officer at Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi.

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