Coast Guard searching for six people missing in the Gulf

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KHOU.com

Posted on May 22, 2012 at 3:01 AM

HOUSTON – The U.S. Coast Guard was searching an area of the Gulf about the size of Delaware Monday for six people who abandoned a sinking fishing vessel Sunday afternoon.

Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a distress call from the captain of the vessel around 1:15 p.m. saying the boat was about 2.2 miles off the entrance of the Galveston Ship Channel and taking on water, so the six people onboard were abandoning ship and getting into an orange life raft.

Because of the poor quality of the radio transmission, the name of the vessel was difficult for watchstanders to interpret. They believe it is either Scallywag or Skylark.

Multiple Coast Guard crews – including two 25-foot response boats, one 45-foot response boat, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, an HU-25 Guardian aircraft, the Coast Guard Cutter Heron and the Coast Guard Cutter Skipjack – have been dispatched to search for missing persons.

"The initial report was there was a fishing vessel that was taking on water. There were six people on board. And they were getting into an orange life raft. That was the last communications that we heard offshore. So that’s why we’re out there, seeing if we can find, locate that life raft and those six people," David Sassner with the Coast Guard said.  

The Coast Guard was also asking the public for any additional information on the Scallywag or Skylark.

"As of right now, we have little to go on. And we’re soliciting the information from the general public. If you know anything about a fishing vessel ‘Skylark’ or ‘Scallywag’ that was supposed to be offshore off the coast of Galveston, we’re looking for any sort of information," Sassner said.  

Anyone who is familiar with the vessel is asked to call 713-678-9011.

The captain of the sinking ship described it as a purple or blue fishing vessel with a white stripe.

"The Coast Guard is expending all available resources to try and locate the six missing people," stated Elvie Damaso, a command center controller for Sector Houston-Galveston. "We are currently requesting assistance from the public. We are looking for any additional information about the missing people or the fishing vessel."

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