Coast Guard Rescues Family of Four in Chilly Texas Channel

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As temperatures plummeted, a Coast Guard air crew rescued a family of four, including two young children, aboard a grounded recreational boat near Port Mansfield, Texas, the agency said Tuesday.

The family called Coast Guard Station South Padre Island about 4 p.m. (5 p.m. ET) Monday by cellphone saying they were grounded on west side of the Mansfield Cut, a channel through Padre Island. An ice storm was moving through the Southeast at the time, and air temperatures fell 25 degrees in just two hours, to 42 degrees in 30-mph wind gusts.

An MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter was sent, and a rescue swimmer was lowered to the boat to assess the survivors' condition. The two children showed signs of hypothermia, so the rescue swimmer guided the family through the water to an island where the helicopter was able to land, leaving the boat behind. They were transported to the Port Mansfield airport, where an emergency medical crew was waiting.

"This time of year, being unprepared for the weather and water conditions can often lead to disaster," said Lt. Eric Vryheid, one of the pilots. "Fishing and boating can be great fun, but boaters should always check the weather report prior to departing."

A Coast Guard rescue worker assists a family of four Monday near Port Mansfield, Texas.U.S. COAST GUARD


— M. Alex Johnson