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Coast Guard suspends search for two missing crew members

Posted at 10:25 PM, Aug 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 01:04:14-04

The Coast Guard suspended its search late Saturday for two missing crew members from the dredging vessel Waymon L Boyd.

“Our Coast Guard crews worked intently alongside state and local partners to locate the two crew members who remained missing, but unfortunately, we were unable to locate them,” said Capt. Edward Gaynor, commander, Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “The decision to suspend a search is never easy and a lot of factors are considered before suspending a search. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of the missing crew members during this difficult time.”

Involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi
  • Coast Guard Station Port Aransas
  • Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Corpus Christi
  • Coast Guard Cutter Chinook
  • Coast Guard Cutter Manta
  • Coast Guard Cutter Sturgeon
  • Port Police Department Marine Units
  • Harbormaster's Office
  • Security Command Center

Two of the four missing bodies from the massive port pipeline explosion were discovered earlier on Saturday.

During a Saturday afternoon press conference with the U.S. Coast Guard and Port of Corpus Christi, officials said the two bodies were found around 2 a.m. and at 10:45 a,m.

Others who attended the news conference included representatives from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, State Rep. Todd Hunter and Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales.

“I want to have prayer today, prayer for the injured to be healed," Canales said. "I pray for the missing to be found and on this Sabbath, I pray for the souls of the deceased."

Coast Guard officials said the Waymon L. Boyd dredging vessel eventually broke apart and sunk. The Coast Guard also is looking into a salvage plan to remove the vessel without impacting the waterways and the environment.

“And the Coast Guard captain of the Port will re-evaluate as the rescue and salvage operation continues our priorities remain, to account for all the missing individuals and to salvage the dredge vessel,” U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jason Gunning said.

Challenges exist for the search and rescue efforts of the two dredge workers unaccounted for, Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge said.

"We also have a hurricane that potentially coming our way as well which complicates matters,” Strawbridge said.

However, Strawbridge says federal, state, and local officials are working together to help the search proceed smoothly.

"Communication is everything and that’s why having a unified command here at the Ortiz Center for this incident is very important," Strawbridge said. "To have everybody in the same room so we can all be unified in our approach and our response and ultimately be satisfied with the results."