A Coast Guard Station Galveston 45-foot Response Boat–medium crew approaches an unmanned, adrift, 19-foot vessel near the entrance to the channel in Galveston, Texas, Sept. 22, 2022. Coast Guard Station Galveston, Cutter Hawk, Air Station Houston and Air Station Corpus Christi crews are searching for the boat’s missing owner. US Coast Guard photo.
Rescuers have stopped searching for Larry Nemec, the 65-year-old man who mysteriously disappeared from his boat off Texas last week.
“Pending new developments, the Coast Guard's search is suspended,” Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Corrine Zilnicki, a US Coast Guard spokesperson, told Coffee or Die Magazine.
Since Nemec vanished from his 1999 Blue Wave fishing boat on Thursday, Sept. 22, in the Galveston Channel, crews canvassed 1,323 square miles of sea for more than 56 hours.
"Despite our crews' best efforts, we had to make the difficult decision to suspend our search today," Capt. Keith Donohue, Sector Houston-Galveston deputy commander, said in a statement emailed to Coffee or Die on Saturday. "Our hearts go out to Mr. Nemec's friends and family during this unimaginably hard time."
A Coast Guard Station Galveston response boat–medium crew approaches an unmanned and adrift vessel near the entrance to the channel in Galveston, Texas, on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. US Coast Guard photo.
The hunt for Nemec began shortly after 7 p.m. on Thursday, when his daughter told Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders that he was on board a disabled 18-foot, 9-inch boat near the Galveston jetties and needed help.
A 45-foot response boat-medium crew from Galveston steamed toward the jetties while officials sent Nemec a series of i911 pings, which are designed to help rescuers pinpoint callers in distress.
But after the first ping, the line went dead, and watchstanders never determined Nemec’s exact location. The Coast Guard boat crew called Nemec and urged him to describe his emergency. But even after they shot off flares, the Houston man said he couldn’t see them.
A commercial pilot boat later spotted Nemec’s empty watercraft at the mouth of the Galveston Channel. Zilnicki told Coffee or Die that a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department rescue crew had returned the boat to Nemec’s family.
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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