2018-06-13 / Agriculture and Outdoors

Wardens perform water rescues

The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law-enforcement reports.

Responding to a call for help

At 10 p.m. on April 11, Hunt County game wardens responded to a 911 call from an elderly man whose boat had capsized in heavy winds on Lake Tawakoni. The man was trapped under the bow of the boat and in distress. As they launched their patrol boats and were joined by local fire rescue, wardens requested assistance from a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter. The DPS helicopter located the overturned boat and as the helicopter hovered overhead providing light for the rescue below, game wardens and firemen pulled the victim from the water. An examination of the elderly man revealed he was suffering from hypothermia, having been in 61-degree water for more than four hours, and soaked in gasoline.

On the way back to the shore the victim advised wardens that his 72-year-old brother had also been on the boat when it capsized and was now missing.

After offloading the man at a waiting ambulance, rescuers headed back out onto the lake to search for the other missing man. Very high winds made the search difficult, but shortly after midnight wardens located the second man clinging to a large jug.

Like his brother, the second man was also very hypothermic from exposure. Both victims survived the ordeal but not without consequences. The first man was diagnosed with second-degree chemical burns and his brother suffered a heart attack after being admitted to the hospital.

Snapped up again

Cameron County game wardens received a call April 16 from U.S. Coast Guard Station South Padre Island regarding a Mexican fishing vessel that was caught illegally fishing in Texas state waters. The Coast Guard stated that after a 10-minute pursuit, the fishing vessel was stopped and the four-man crew was taken into custody by a Coast Guard boarding team and transported to the South Padre Island small boat station.

Wardens met the Coast Guard boat crew at the station and took custody of the 26-foot fishing vessel, the catch on board, and its crewmembers. Three bids by local fish houses were collected and the seized catch of approximately 750 pounds of red snapper was sold to the highest bidder. The crew of the fishing vessel admitted to having been caught illegally fishing in U.S. waters numerous times in the past.

The captain of the vessel was cited for operation of an unregistered vessel, illegal means and methods, and fishing without a commercial fishing license. The three crewmembers were cited for illegal means and methods and fishing without a commercial fishing license.

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