Towboat crew rescues five after pleasure boat hits barge

(HOUSTON) — The U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritans rescued five adults who were injured in a boat collision near Galveston, Texas, on Tuesday.

Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston command center watch standers received a call at 9:41 p.m. on VHF-FM Channel 16 from the captain of the towing vessel Richard Tolar that an 18-foot pleasure craft had collided with a barge and capsized east of the Galveston Causeway. All five boaters were in the water, had sustained injuries, and were not wearing life jackets.

Watch standers directed the launch of a 29-foot response boat-small (RB-S) from Coast Guard Station Galveston and diverted an already-airborne MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Houston.

The towboat Chip Stiebing is shown in a file image. photo

While Coast Guard rescue crews were en route, the crew of the nearby towing vessel Chip Stiebing pulled all five boaters from the water. The helicopter crew arrived on scene and hoisted two of the boaters, one who had sustained a head injury and one with a broken leg. The crew transported the patients to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Galveston.

The RB-S crew arrived and embarked the remaining three boaters, all of whom had sustained minor injuries. The boat crew brought the three adults to Station Galveston, where emergency services personnel assessed and transported them to UTMB Galveston.

All survivors were last reported to be in stable condition. The cause of the collision is currently under investigation by Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City personnel.

“We commend the crew of the Chip Stiebing for launching into action and helping people in need,” said Cmdr. Michael Cortese, search and rescue mission coordinator, Sector Houston-Galveston. “Their quick response expedited the overall rescue and helped us connect these boaters with higher medical care.”

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller