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Crewman Found Dead, 4 Rescued After Tugboat Capsizes in Flooded Houston

by Elisha Fieldstadt /  / Updated 
A Coast Guard rescue team says a body has been recovered after a tugboat capsized on the San Jacinto River on April 19, 2016.
A Coast Guard rescue team says a body has been recovered after a tugboat capsized on the San Jacinto River on April 19, 2016.KPRC Houston

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A crew member thrown from a tugboat in a Houston river was found dead Tuesday morning after heavy rains sparked flash flooding in the region, according to authorities.

Four other people were rescued after their tugboat capsized at about 9 a.m. Tuesday in the San Jacinto River. The Harris County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Coast Guard launched a search for the fifth crewman and found his body shortly after, according to a sheriff's office statement.

The Coast Guard used a helicopter, boat and dive team to locate the victim, who has not been identified.

Slideshow: Houston Paralyzed By Heavy Rains, Flash Floods

The boat flipped a day after record-breaking rainfall slammed the Houston and Harris County area, although the Coast Guard could not confirm whether weather was a contributing factor. Five people were killed in the subsequent flash flooding in Harris County, and another was killed in Waller County, authorities said. While four of the deaths were confirmed to be weather-related, autopsies were underway to determine if the other two deaths were due to the flooding.

Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport both set daily rainfall records Monday, and some areas were deluged with up to 17 inches. More than 800 flights were canceled, and the city was brought to a near-standstill as buses and trains were shut down and schools and government offices were closed.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote in a tweet Tuesday that the city was back to normal operations, but warned residents to be mindful of standing water while driving. Harris County Flood Control said many creeks likely wouldn't return to normal levels until later in the week.

Gov. Greg Abbott to declare a state of disaster Monday night as residents and officials worked to clear the devastation. Nearly 200 homes were damaged Monday as the waters rose, and 240 people were displaced, said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Those who couldn’t return to their homes were staying in six Red Cross shelters in the region, while the city worked to find more permanent housing for them.

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