Coast Guard suspends search for 6 people believed missing in the Gulf of Mexico off Galveston

May 21, 2012 7:39:00 PM PDT
Six people are missing in the Gulf of Mexico after they abandoned their sinking fishing boat in the waters off Galveston, Texas, the Coast Guard said Monday.

The Coast Guard had been searching for them ever since the boat's captain sent a mayday call Sunday afternoon, saying the vessel was sinking and that the six people onboard were planning to escape in an orange life raft, said Coast Guard command center controller Elvie Damaso. However, around 6pm Monday, the Coast Guard suspended its search for the day. It says it will and said it will continue sending out the radio broadcast for ships in the area to be on the lookout for them and then decide whether to resume actively searching for them on Tuesday.

Eyewitness News received a copy of the distress call:

"We have an onboard emergency. We are taking on water sir," the unidentified boat captain told the Coast Guard.

Damaso says authorities are not sure if the boat is called Scallywag or Skylark because the quality of the line was poor.

Coast Guard officials need the public's help in trying to work out who was on the boat and where it came from, Petty officer Richard Brahm said.

"We weren't able to get it from the captain before the boat went down," Brahm said.

Damaso said at least three boats, a helicopter, a plane and two cutters are involved in the search for the missing fishermen in a stretch of water roughly the size of Delaware. The boat went down somewhere off the coast of Galveston, about 50 miles southeast of Houston.

"All my electronics are down and I couldn't give you an exact location," the boat's captain said in the distress call. Brahm said authorities couldn't be more specific about where to search for the boat because the distress call was received by several communication towers.

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