The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man who jumped overboard from a vehicle ferry operating near Galveston, Texas.
The 265-foot ferry Gibb Gilchrist was traveling between Galveston and Port Bolivar, Texas, on May 2 at about 1130 when the unidentified man leapt overboard, according to Danny Perez, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation, which operates the vessel.
Crew aboard another Texas ferry, John W. Johnson, witnessed the man go into the water. U.S. Coast Guard personnel in a 45-foot response boat operating nearby located the man in the water and rescued him, the service said in a news release.
“We encourage mariners to keep a sharp lookout for signs of danger and to call for help immediately at the first sign of distress,” Petty Officer 1st Class Chase Carey, operations unit controller for Sector Houston-Galveston, said in a statement.
“Thanks to the vigilance and quick actions of the John W. Johnson ferry crew, our boat crew was able to swiftly and safely pull the man from the water,” Carey continued.
The 3,000-hp, 500-passenger Gibb Gilchrist operates between Galveston and Port Bolivar, a 2.7-mile route that saves about 120 road miles and more than two hours of traffic between the two points. The 45-year-old ferry can hold up to 70 vehicles.
Gibb Gilchrist was eastbound toward Port Bolivar when the incident happened. The vessel was underway at about 8 knots. There were no sudden stops or jarring motions on the vessel that could have caused the man to fall in, Perez said.
John W. Johnson was westbound toward Galveston when its crew spotted the man go overboard and reported it over VHF radio channel 16.
Texas ferry crews regularly drill for incidents such as this one. They are required to demonstrate proficient emergency responses during Coast Guard inspections, Perez said. The crew was preparing to launch its rescue boat to reach the man in the water. However, the Coast Guard was already operating nearby performing drills and training for its own crews.
Personnel aboard the Coast Guard RB-M pulled the man from the water soon after he went overboard. He was taken to Coast Guard Station Galveston where EMTs were waiting. It’s not clear if the man required further treatment.
The service said nobody was injured during the incident. The reason the man jumped overboard were not available.