Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a distress call at approximately 10:30 a.m. reporting that a woman had fallen overboard from a rented sailboat in Galveston Bay near the Kemah Boardwalk. After several failed attempts to rescue the woman, passengers aboard the sailboat made a distress call via radio Channel 16. An MH-65C Dolphin helicopter and crew from Coast Guard Air Station Houston were in the area on a routine patrol and responded within 10 minutes of the call.
A rescue swimmer was lowered from the rescue helicopter, and the crew of the helicopter successfully hoisted the woman to safety. She was transported to awaiting emergency medical services at Ellington Field and then taken to Southeast Memorial Hospital to be treated for signs of mild hypothermia.
“Considering that the air temperature was in the 30s, and the water temperature was in the 50s, this situation could have gone bad quickly,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Medina, who took the initial call and directed the operation from the command center. “This rescue was a classic case of being at the right place at the right time, and also of teamwork between Sector command center personnel and Air Station Houston.”