Desperate search in Gulf of Mexico

May 20, 2009 4:26:43 PM PDT
A teenager who survived a heart-wrenching experience in the Gulf of Mexico tells us his harrowing story, while volunteers take over the search for his father. It's a search that's growing more desperate with every minute that passes. It began on a happy note; a family enjoying a weekend fishing trip. They had no idea what was in store. What followed was a struggle for survival, a daring rescue and complete helplessness as they tried to save their father.

The last 48 hours have been traumatic ones for Zachary and Dominic Alexander. The teenage brothers survived a frightening day at sea, but with their father still missing, Zachary, 17, says he keeps reliving the nightmare.

"I didn't think we were gonna make it," he said.

Zachary didn't think he'd live to tell the story. That's why, despite all odds, he's hoping his father, Bobby Alexander, has somehow managed to survive, too.

"We were just real close to each other, me and my dad," said Zachary.

The father and son, along with Zachary's 13-year-old half brother, Dominic, were fishing in the Gulf Sunday when strong winds and 10 foot waves suddenly overwhelmed their boat. The family struggled for nine hours in rough seas before they finally reached an oil rig 17 miles offshore.

Zachary lunged on board and scrambled to get the attention of the crew. But that's when the family's boat finally flipped. Crew members pulled young Dominic out of the water, but his father disappeared from sight.

After two days, the U.S. Coast Guard has now called off its search for Bobby Alexander, but at the family's request, Equusearch has stepped in. The organization is sending resources to San Jose Island in the direction they suspect currents would take him.

All Zachary could can do now is cling to the memory of his father.

"Every time I close my eyes, I see that my dad's just drifting off in the ocean," he said.

At this moment, Equusearch is trying to get about four boats and several vehicles onto San Jose Island . That island, which is across from Port Aransas, is 8 miles from the oil rig where Bobby Alexander was last seen.

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