Three Texas boaters missing for more than a week were reunited with their families early Sunday after they were found alive, sitting on top of their capsized catamaran 180 miles from land, the Coast Guard said.
Tressel Hawkins, one of three men stranded on a capsized catamaran in the Gulf of Mexico for more than a week, said the boat overturned so quickly they didn't have time to make an emergency call on the radio.
The find comes one day after the Coast Guard ended their search for 28-year-old Curtis Hall of Palacios, 43-year-old Tressel Hawkins of Markham and 30-year-old boat owner James Phillips of Blessing.
Their ordeal began when Watchstanders at Sector Houston-Galveston received a call from the Matagorda Police Department reporting the men overdue from a fishing trip. Coast Guard aircraft, cutter and small boat crews had searched approximately 86,000 square miles, but could not find the boaters.
Saturday night, a pleasure boat found the men floating out at sea. The three men were reportedly found sitting on top of their capsized 23-foot-Sea Chaser Catamaran.
Crewmembers from the Affordable Fantasy vessel rescued the missing men. A small boat crew from Coast Guard Station Port Aransas met the Good Samaritan vessel approximately 50 miles offshore, where the men were transferred on board a Coast Guard 45-foot small boat. The men were then transported to Station Port Aransas where they were reunited with family.
The men said they survived the ordeal at sea by sharing two gallons of water and peanut butter crackers. They sheltered themselves from the heat with nearby floating debris.
The rescuers treated the men to a hearty welcome-home meal. They dined on rib-eye steaks, baked potatoes and salad once they came ashore. These men are truly the diamonds of Texas. Their shining heroism is brilliant and we are grateful they are not safe.