Coast Guard suspends search for missing fisherman near San Leon

SAN LEON, TX (KTRK) -- A desperate search for a missing fisherman ends with officials unsure of his survival. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search and says his survival is unlikely based on water conditions.

Coast Guard spent Saturday searching for 49-year-old Ba Van Nguyen, who went missing in the Houston Ship Channel near Eagle Point on Friday.

Around 6:52pm, another vessel contacted the Coast Guard and reported Nguyen's 54-foot shrimp boat, Regina Pacis, was seen spinning in circles with gear set in the channel.

Nguyen's daughter talked to abc13's Marla Carter about his disappearance.

"He's a hard worker. He's always given us everything we needed," said Judy Nguyen, Ba Van Nguyen's daughter.

Judy Nguyen said his family is devastated.

"We found his boat and his car, but he's nowhere to be found," she said.

The Coast Guard said they have had six teams out searching for Ba Van Nguyen. By Saturday afternoon, they had searched 272 square miles. The Coast Guard believes he may have fallen overboard.

Loved ones say Ba Van Nguyen left San Leon around 5am on Friday and was expected return at 2pm.

Captain Van Pham has been friends with Nguyen for 20 years and saw him leave Friday.

"I came back here, and my friend called him. He did not answer the phone," said Pham.

Nguyen went out alone on the shrimp boat. His daughter said he's been fishing for 25 years.

"He used to have a crew, like a deck-man. But he doesn't work as often as he used to. He works a few times a week, so he'll go alone," said Judy Nguyen.

The Coast Guard has focused their search to the northwest as a result of the current.
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