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. US Coast Guard photo.
A rescue team from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has joined US Coast Guard cutter Hawk in the search for a 65-year-old Houston man who mysteriously vanished from his boat in the Galveston Channel.
Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received an emergency call around 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, from a woman who said her father, Larry Nemec, was on board a disabled 18-foot, 9-inch boat near the Galveston jetties and needed help.
A 45-foot response boat-medium and its 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 couldn’t determine Nemec’s exact location.
“The best way to use it is multiple pings so that they can hone in on where the person is located,” Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Corrine Zilnicki, a Coast Guard spokesperson, told Coffee or Die Magazine. “It takes several in order to best figure out where they're at.”
A Coast Guard Station Galveston 45-foot response boat-medium crew approaches an adrift, unmanned pleasure boat near the entrance to Galveston Channel on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. US Coast Guard photo.
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.
The sea was calm that night, with waves under a foot, so rescuers held out hope they’d reach him, Zilnicki said. But roughly two hours after the initial mayday call, a pilot-boat crew reported finding an unoccupied 1999 Blue Wave watercraft adrift near the entrance to the Galveston Channel.
Zilnicki told Coffee or Die that Nemec’s personal belongings and several fishing poles remained where he'd left them. A Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry reconnaissance plane and an Air Station Houston MH-65D Dolphin helicopter continue to fly “search patterns” off Galveston, she said.
Like the Texas game wardens and the cutter’s crew, the aircraft teams are looking for a white man who was last seen wearing board shorts, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap.
Anyone with information about Nemec’s whereabouts is urged to call Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders at 281-464-4851.
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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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