CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — The Coast Guard rescued 10 people Friday after their catamaran began taking on water 18 miles north of the Port Mansfield jetties and about 1.5 miles offshore.
They used a satellite phone to call for help and reached the rescue coordinators at the Coast Guard's 8th District. At approximately 1:15 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi received the report that 10 people aboard a boat had requested assistance. The 28-foot catamaran was disabled, adrift, and taking on water. All 10 people aboard the catamaran were wearing life jackets.
Sector Corpus Christi launched Air Station Corpus Christi aircrews aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and an HU-25 Falcon airplane and they launched a Station South Padre Island boatcrew aboard a 45-foot Coast Guard Response Boat Medium.
The satellite phone died leaving the distressed people unable to remain in contact with the Coast Guard. A Customs and Border Protection aircrew was able to locate and verify the position of the catamaran for the Coast Guard. The helicopter aircrew arrived and lowered a rescue swimmer to assess the catamaran's damage. The aircrew determined the people had slowed the flow of water enough to allow them to be towed.
The disabled catamaran was taken in tow by the response boat and then transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Skipjack, an 87-foot Coast Guard patrol boat. The Skipjack transported them to Port Mansfield and ensured they were safely moored. The seven adults and three children were not reported as having any medical concerns.
“This was a great joint effort between our surface asset from South Padre Island, CBP aircraft and Coast Guard aircraft,” said Lt. Garrett Barker, the helicopter pilot. “A case like this can be very complex with that many people on a disabled boat, especially when children are involved and they had no means of communication. Fortunately, we were able to get our rescue swimmer on scene to assess the situation before anything bad happened. I’m proud of the collective effort that got everyone out of harms way.”