Coast Guard continues search for missing boaters

Officials: Search has covered around 1800 square miles

By Gianna Caserta - Reporter

GALVESTON, Texas - The U.S. Coast Guard continued their search Saturday for four boaters, missing since their ship sank about 115 miles off the coast of Galveston.

"We are looking for people in the water. Essentially, that is like a basketball in an ocean," said Lt. Brian Seekatz with the United States Coast Guard.

The search for the four shrimpers went on overnight Friday, with a Coast Guard cutter and an airplane. A rescue helicopter joined the search Saturday morning.

"They located some debris fields last night, and they wanted to go out there and check those today, and of course you cant see a lot at night, so you always want to go out again in the morning and do a first light search," said Richard Brahm, with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials said the boat sank about 115 miles southeast of Galveston early Friday morning. Coast Guard officials said around 3:30 a.m., they received an alert from the boat's emergency beacon.

An aircrew was sent out to the area to search for the boat, and found one of the crewmen, Jack Robinson, waiving his arms aboard an orange raft, officials said.

"We lowered our basket down to him and hoisted him back up into the aircraft," said Seekatz. "He was shivering, very cold."

Once Robinson was rescued, he told authorities there were four other crew members aboard the vessel before it sank.

The Coast Guard said bad weather is to blame for the troubles that led to the boat capsizing.

"He was asleep at that time and managed to get on deck and off the vessel," said Seekatz. "Once he was in the water, he was able to locate the life raft that was out on the water, swam to it and got inside."

Officials said without the emergency locating technology on the raft, Robinson may have never been found. Robinson told rescuers he didn't know if the other four fishermen even made it off the boat before it went under.

"The vessel capsized so quickly, no one on board was able to make a may day call," said Seekatz. "We are in trouble, we are going down."

The Coast Guard will continue to search for the missing men until the probability of survival is extremely minimal. The Coast Guard said the search has covered about 1,800 square miles.

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