First Responders

Search Ends for Dad Who Dove Into Water To Save 3-Year-Old Daughter

August 23, 2022Noelle Wiehe
A US Coast Guard crew from Air Station Houston hovers over San Luis Pass, May 24, 2014, part of an effort by first responders to keep people from trying to swim in treacherous waters that had claimed four lives in 2013. US Coast Guard photo.

A US Coast Guard crew from Air Station Houston hovers over San Luis Pass, May 24, 2014, part of an effort by first responders to keep people from trying to swim in treacherous waters that had claimed four lives in 2013. US Coast Guard photo.

Seconds after fishing a 3-year-old girl from Galveston’s San Luis Pass, rescuers began searching the Texas Gulf Coast waterway for her father, who'd dived in to save her.

But no one has seen the 25-year-old man since he entered the often treacherous waterway around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21, and the US Coast Guard called off the search Monday evening.

US Coast Guard Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Corrine Zilnicki told Coffee or Die Magazine on Monday the man disappeared in waters "known to be hazardous" because of tides and rip currents.

Officials describe the missing man as a 5-foot-6, 165-pound Latino man who was last seen wearing a black shirt and blue shorts.

US Coast Guard crews searched approximately 68 square miles for more than 20 hours before suspending the search.

Aviation Survival Technician 2nd Class E.J. Richardson, an elite rescue swimmer from Air Station Houston, warns a group of vacationers about the dangerous waters of San Luis Pass on May 25, 2014. US Coast Guard photo.

Galveston Police Department dispatchers told US Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders that the man's daughter had been on a flotation device that got pulled by the current away from shore near the San Luis Pass-Vacek Toll Bridge, and he'd jumped in to reel her back.

A Galveston Island Beach Patrol crew on water scooters spotted the toddler floating northeast in the pass and brought her to a sandbar.

An urgent marine information broadcast Sunday evening urged area boaters to be on the lookout for the lost father. The US Coast Guard also scrambled an MH-65D Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Houston and a 45-foot response boat-medium from Freeport to join the dragnet.

Others in the hunt included Jamaica Beach Patrol, Gulf Coast Rescue, Texas Search and Rescue, and police and firefighters from Galveston.

Anyone with information about the missing man is urged to call Sector Houston-Galveston at 281-464-4851.

Read Next: How Rescuers Saved a Hunter Who Drove His ATV Over a 10-Story Cliff

Noelle Wiehe
Noelle Wiehe

Noelle is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die through a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command. Noelle also worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist.

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