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Good Samaritan rescues 4 from life raft in Gulf of Mexico

Four people were rescued from a life raft by a good Samaritan aboard a fishing boat almost 100 miles southeast of Galveston, in bad weather, Friday afternoon.

Coast Guard 8th District watchstanders directed two Coast Guard cutters, a helicopter and an airplane to search for the missing boat crew after they received a satellite distress signal, or Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon, at 12:30 p.m. At about 12:45 p.m., watchstanders at Sector Houston-Galveston received a phone call from the owner of the 26-foot fishing boat, Reel Hazard, saying that he was receiving messages through the boat crew’s SPOT Satellite Messenger. Initial messages told him, “need help,” as well as their position and eventually the messages said that they were in a life raft.

The Houston based watchstanders began broadcasting an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert mariners of the distressed people in the life raft, in case anyone could help. The Galveston based Coast Guard Cutters Dauntless and Manowar were already underway and began making way toward the life raft. An Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew was set to search for the life raft and support an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Houston.

Fortunately, someone aboard a 35-foot sport fishing boat received one of the information broadcast and was able to get to the location quickly, where they found and rescued all four people aboard the life raft. Still far from normal radio broadcast range, the crew was able to use the satellite messenger to tell the owner of the boat that they had been rescued.

The good Samaritan and rescued individuals should return to Galveston Yacht Basin at about 6 p.m. No medical concerns were mentioned.


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