Texas A&M Task Force 1 saves three people from sinking vessel during Hurricane Hanna
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (TEEX) - Texas A&M Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) water rescue squad rescues 3 from sinking vessel at Marina Del Sol in Corpus Christi, TX
Texas A&M Task Force 1, by request of the US Coast Guard and the Corpus Christi Fire Department, rescued two people in their 80′s and the 40-year-old boat owner from a sailboat as it was sinking in the marina.
The TX-TF1 water rescue squad, comprised of members from Washington County EMS and TX-TF1 Water Group Supervisor Kevin Deramus, arrived as many of the boats in the marina were breaking apart and sinking.
After meeting with the marina owner and the Corpus Christi Fire Department, the rescuers quickly launched their inflatable Zodiac rescue boats to save the three trapped on the sinking boat in rough waters and 65 mph winds.
Under the direction of the Texas Division of Emergency Management on behalf of Governor Greg Abbott, Texas A&M Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) mobilized an 80-person Urban Search and Rescue task force and seven swiftwater and flood rescue teams to assist local jurisdictions impacted by Hurricane Hanna. The water rescue squads were strategically located in the areas expected to weather hurricane surge, up to 100 mph winds and flooding rain.
Jeff Saunders, Director of TX-TF1, said that “specially trained personnel with specialized equipment were pre-positioned where they would do the most good, for the most people in the least amount of time” prior to the hurricane making landfall.
Experienced and highly-qualified water rescue personnel, many of which performed lifesaving rescues during Hurricane Harvey, were located in the Corpus Christi area ready to help the local first responders in a moment’s notice.
Due to the extreme conditions, the US Coast Guard and the fire department could not effectively launch boats in the marina and requested the assistance of TX-TF1. Deramus was first on scene with the water rescue squad arriving minutes later. It quickly became apparent that the personnel on the sailboat might not survive if not rescued. Two inflatable Zodiac rescue boats were launched after agreeing on a plan with the marina and fire department personnel.
Deramus said, “conditions were pretty rough, not going to lie, it was debatable, but the handicapped people on the boat was sending SOS using a flashlight and boats were literally ripping apart. I asked the rescue squad leader and boat operators if they felt comfortable. I got three thumbs up”.
The two elderly people were rescued first and the team returned to rescue the boat owner. As the boat was returning to safety it hit debris causing damage to the motor. The rescuers had expected complications and added additional rescue personnel to crew the boat. As soon as the motor failed, the crew used their training and switched to paddling the boat to safety.
About Texas A&M Task Force 1
Texas A&M Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) functions as one of the 28 federal teams under the Federal Emergency Management Agency National Urban Search and Rescue System and as a statewide urban search and rescue team under direction of the Texas Division of Emergency Management. TX-TF1 also coordinates the state’s swiftwater rescue program and the helicopter search and rescue team which works in conjunction with Texas Military Department. Sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and headquartered in College Station, Texas, teams train at Disaster City® in skills and techniques needed by today’s emergency response professionals to respond to disasters.
For additional information, visit the official TX-TF1 website at https://texastaskforce1.org/
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