National News

May 10, 2014 10:35 PM by KATC

Coast Guard crew rescues 3 from sinking vessel, stormy conditions

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Coast Guard boat crew rescued three people Friday, in very blustery conditions, when their vessel began taking on water in Mexican waters.

At 8:50 p.m. Friday, the Coast Guard received a report that a 67-foot pleasure craft, the Ebenezer, with three men aboard was disabled and requested assistance. The Ebenezer was adrift approximately 12 miles offshore from the Rio Grande, but drifting towards U.S. waters. Sector Corpus Christi diverted Coast Guard Cutter Razorbill, an 87-foot boat homeported in Gulfport, Mississippi. The cutter was patrolling in the area and able to assist.

With forecasted weather to reach eight-foot seas and winds with gusts of up to 60 knots, the Razorbill arrived on scene and immediately sent a boarding team over on their small boat to assess the safety of the vessel. Once onboard, the weather began to worsen and the boarding team discovered that the vessel was taking on water in a compartment that was mostly blocked by a cabin cruiser boat located on its deck. Unable to access the area to pump out the water and with the weather getting worse, the crew of the Razorbill decided to evacuate the boarding team and the captain of the Ebenezer chose to abandon ship.

Due to the safety concerns presented by lightning and thunderstorm conditions, a helicopter asset was unable to launch, which left the Razorbill and its crew as the only available asset. The small boat made two trips in high seas and violent winds to remove the boarding team and crewmembers from the Ebenezer to the safety of the Razorbill.

"Fortunately we were in the area when the vessel's engine quit," said Master Chief Petty Officer Shawn Hoefling, officer in charge of the Razorbill. "The weather went from relatively calm to tropical storm-like conditions in a just a few minutes. The crew did extremely well in a dangerous situation to get these mariners to safety and I'm very proud of them."

A Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon aircrew launched this afternoon and located the Ebenezer in Playa Costa Azul where it had become beached.

 

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