Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater near Galveston
Published 4:17 pm Saturday, September 24, 2022
The Coast Guard has suspended its search for a 65-year-old man who went missing in the water near Galveston, Texas, on Thursday.
Coast Guard crews searched about 1,323 square miles for more than 56 combined hours.
Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston command center watchstanders received a call at about 7 p.m. Thursday from a woman stating her father, Larry Nemec, was aboard a disabled 19-foot boat and needed help in the vicinity of the Galveston jetties.
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Watchstanders issued a marine assistance request broadcast and launched a Coast Guard Station Galveston 45-foot Response Boat–Medium crew to assist.
While the RB–M crew arrived on scene and began searching for the vessel, command center watchstanders sent the man i911 pings to pinpoint his exact location. The boater accepted only the first ping; subsequent requests went unanswered. After searching near the Galveston Fairway Anchorage and launching a flare to attract the boater’s attention, the responding crew did not locate the disabled vessel.
At 9:15 p.m. Thursday, Bayou City Pilots came across an unmanned, adrift Blue Wave vessel with a registration number matching that of the man’s boat near the entrance to the Galveston channel. The Station Galveston boat crew diverted to that location while a Coast Guard Air Station MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched to search for the boater. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department boat crews also joined the search.
Additionally, an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi and the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Hawk, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Galveston, joined the search Friday morning.
Coast Guard crews continued searching Friday and Saturday.
“Despite our crews’ best efforts, we had to make the difficult decision to suspend our search today,” said Capt. Keith Donohue, deputy commander, Sector Houston-Galveston. “Our hearts go out to Mr. Nemec’s friends and family during this unimaginably hard time.”