New details have emerged about the Coast Guard’s dramatic rescue of three fishermen from the Gulf of Mexico.
Louisiana, USA – Three friends from Harvey spent 28 long hours in the Gulf of Mexico, 25 miles offshore.
They experienced engine problems and their boat sank.
One of the men, Luan Nguyen, made a video while he and other riders were swimming in the shark-infested waters.
While Nguyen and the others waited to be rescued, Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Kevin Keefe was ashore, coordinating efforts to find them.
“This initial research area was about the size of Rhode Island,” Keefe said.
It took about three hours to locate the 24-foot fishing boat that was launched from the Empire’s Delta Marina early Saturday.
It was reported that the men disappeared on Sunday morning.
While the Coast Guard worked to narrow the search area, there was a break in the case.
The mobile phone of a missing passenger suddenly found cellular service.
“The individual was able to send a text message saying, ‘My boat sank, I floated in the middle of the bay and I sent a screenshot to their Google Maps with their location icon,'” Keefe said.
Unfortunately, the text did not include GPS coordinates.
But the Coast Guard was able to use Google Earth and other geographic reference points to determine the whereabouts of the men within two nautical miles.
A fixed-wing aircraft spotted the men.
Lieutenant Katie Caraway was the co-pilot of the Jayhawk helicopter that rushed to the site.
“The first thing I noticed was a jellyfish, actually,” said Crawway. “There were a lot of jellyfish around.”
But she said rescue boat crews at the scene also reported sharks in the water.
“There were four sharks swarming over the individuals and they were fighting the sharks with their hands, and this was proven by the life jacket of one of the individuals that had been torn apart by a shark,” said Crowe.
Luan Nguyen provided details about his fearsome encounter with the shark.
“The shark’s head was in front of me and the shark out of nowhere was biting the jacket,” Nguyen said. “So, I pushed the shark and then tried to push his nose.”
The three boats were lifted into the helicopter around 1 pm on Sunday.
Rescue swimmer, Officer Richard Hovel, said the men did a lot to increase their chances of survival.
“They realized the gravity of their situation,” Hofley said. “They wear life jackets. They took their cell phones, reached out for help, strapped themselves together and strapped themselves to floating objects.
Coast Guard crew described the rescue operation as very rewarding.
“I was able to see the three patients getting back into the helicopter, and I realized that all three had survived. They all looked each other in the eyes and said oh my God, we all did it,” Hofley said. “They hugged each other and then fell asleep. They slept because they were so tired.”
The boaters’ family released this statement:
(Potter) Son (Nguyen) is currently recovering and unable to speak due to injuries. “I am so grateful to be alive,” he says. “I know that things would not have turned out as they were without the efforts of everyone involved, from family to friends, everyone in between, especially the Coast Guard.”
From the family: “We would also like to express our great gratitude to the Delta Marina in Empire, Louisiana. The owners and staff of the marina went above and beyond to accommodate some of us while we waited there all day until we got the news that they had been found.
Of course, we don’t want to forget the fishing community that helped with the search either by sharing posts on social media with tips on where to look and in the water to get the word out to keep an eye on our loved ones.
To all the family and friends across the United States who have supported us with an outpouring of thoughts and prayers – that have kept us fighting to bring our brothers home.
As a token of appreciation and gratitude for bringing our beloved brother and his friends home, the Olive Branch Café at both locations is serving free meals to Coast Guard members for the rest of the week.”