Sunday, June 29, 2008

Two tragic incidents at San Luis Pass

Two tragedies happened near San Luis Pass to two Houstonians. One reported in The Galvestin County Daily News by Rhiannon Meyers:

GALVESTON — A Houston man died after he was tossed from a boat near San Luis Pass late Saturday morning. His brother swam to safety.

Richard Story, 32 of Houston, and his brother Emmett Story III, 35, of Baytown, were in a 20-foot center console boat about 3.5 miles offshore near San Luis Pass when the surf got rough, said Peter Davis, chief of Galveston Island Beach Patrol.

Rogue waves hit both sides of the boat, knocking the brothers from the boat, Davis said. Richard Story disappeared, but Emmett Story swam to shore, Davis said.
I have no idea what kind of freaque wave that can "hit both sides of the boat." Any kind of waves can knocking people from the boat and be called "rogue" waves now-a-days. The report went on:

About 12:22 p.m., a second person on the beach spotted Richard Story lying on the beach two miles east of San Luis Pass, Aiello said.

A Coast Guard flight mechanic and rescue swimmer performed CPR, she said. Richard Story was flown to The University of Texas Medical Branch, where he died, Davis said.

During that time, winds were blowing from the south/southwest at 14 mph with gusts up to 17 mph, said Josh Lichter of the National Weather Service. He had no information on waves.
In a separate incident, Michael Wright of The Fact reports:

SAN LUIS PASS — A Houston man drowned Sunday afternoon during a beach excursion with friends.

Martin Gaitan was pronounced dead at the scene about 2 p.m. Sunday after two witnesses tried to pull him out of the water.

Sheriff’s officials did not know Gaitan’s exact age, but estimated he was between 38 and 40 years old. He was a carpenter.

Sheriff’s Investigator Jack Langdon said Gaitan was wearing blue jeans and a heavy shirt when he entered the surf. Langdon said Gaitan also “smelled strongly of alcohol.”

“I think he stepped off into the swift water and couldn’t swim,” Langdon said.

Langdon said a Houston man jumped into the water to try to save Gaitan, but Gaitan was too heavy and almost pulled his would-be rescuer down with him.

“He was just about to go under,” Langdon said.

A second man jumped in and together the two managed to pull Gaitan’s body out of the water.

Langdon said Gaitan was visiting the beach with two friends, one of whom was fixing lunch when Gaitan decided to go for a swim.
San Luis Pass, according to the Wikipedia, is a strait of water at the south-western end of Galveston Island off the shores of the U.S. state of Texas. It connects the sheltered waters of West Bay to the open Gulf of Mexico. Here's a picture of the fishing pier:

In a peaceful place like this, who could believe that there could be two tragedies nearby here on the same day. It is certainly depressing to realize that it had happened. Are they preventable? We do think so! But tragedies happen always when they are least expected. I guess there is not much science can do to prevent the preventable from still happening at any rate. Our heartfelt prayers are with the victims' families!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a local fishing guide and one of the rescuers/witness to the brother that washed ashore east of the pass.

What a sad day but the facts of the matter is the pass is dangerous on all levels.