Timely tip assists in Coast Guard rescue

Petty Officer 2nd Class Bradley Pigage, an Air Station Houston rescue swimmer, r

A 33-year-old man was rescued by a Coast Guard aircrew when his boat ran aground Friday, Dec. 14, approximately 7 miles southeast of Port Arthur.

The daughter of an employee from Dustin Gulf Seafood reported the missing man to Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders, saying that the man had not arrived at his usual time.

"The guy usually parks in the area," said Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Fojtik, a watchstander at Sector Houston-Galveston. "When he didn't show up, they were concerned and called us."

“In this case, the family did not know the man was in trouble,” said Lt. Spencer Roach, the duty officer at the sector. “The folks at Dustin Seafood went out of their way to call the Coast Guard when he failed to show up at the dock at his normal time.  If not for their report, this may not have had a happy ending.”

A 24-foot response boat and crew were launched from Coast Guard Station Sabine Pass and a rescue helicopter and crew from Coast Guard Air Station Houston. After locating the boat in a remote area near Blue Buck Point, the aircrew observed the man standing on land and waving his arms to signal them. The aircrew hoisted him aboard and transported him to Beaumont Municipal Airport where EMS was standing by.

"It's always important to have a float plan," said Fojtik. "If something does happen on the water, it helps us narrow down where to search, better focusing our efforts."

Search for an overdue boat has a much greater chance of being successful if family or friends know where you are going and when you plan to return.  For your own safety and before boating, file a float plan with a reliable person who will notify authorities if necessary, the Coast Guard said in a press release.

For more information on float plans, visit uscgboating.org or call Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston at (713) 678-9011.

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U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Ivan Barnes

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