Coast Guard rescues adrift in water for 30 hours

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PORT ARANSAS, Texas (AP) — A man adrift in Gulf of Mexico waters for more than a day after his fishing boat sank was rescued when the crew of a passing oil tanker heard his cries for help, a U.S. Coast Guard official said Monday.

The 37-year-old man was one of four fishermen cast into waters off Port Aransas on Saturday afternoon when their 25-foot boat sank. Three of the men, each wearing a life jacket, were rescued about 24 hours later when a supply vessel for an oil rig spotted them.

But the fourth man, who had a second life jacket with him, had drifted away.

Coast Guard Lt. Eric Vryheid said the unidentified man was in the water about 30 hours when the tanker approached. Crew of the Pacific Marchioness had been notified through an urgent Coast Guard broadcast of the missing fisherman and had posted lookouts, Vryheid said. The man was rescued Sunday evening after the crew heard his cries and alerted the Coast Guard, which had a helicopter in the air searching.

"It really helps us when these other mariners are looking out for people in distress," he said. "It was very fortunate that they could hear him."

Vryheid said the man was alert and conscious in the water. He was taken to a Corpus Christi hospital for observation.

"The reason he was rescued is because No. 1 he was wearing a life jacket and also because we threw everything at this search," said Vryheid, including three Coast Guard vessels, the helicopter and a surveillance plane.

The four men, all from San Antonio, were fortunate that the water was in the mid-80s, so hypothermia was not an immediate concern, he said.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused their boat to sink.

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