US Coast Guard rescues 32 people as Harvey churns Texas waters

Remote video URL
15 people rescued in Texas hurricane zone: US Coast Guard.
A burnt out house that caught fire after Hurricane Harvey hit Corpus Christi, on Aug 26, 2017. PHOTO: AFP
Heavy rains and strong winds during Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, on Aug 25, 2017. PHOTO: NYTIMES
A group of people race across the street as winds from Hurricane Harvey escalated in Corpus Christi, on Aug 25, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS
A tree is seen knocked over after the passing of Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, on Aug 26, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

HOUSTON (NYTIMES) - The Coast Guard rescued at least 32 people from several boats in Texas waters Friday (Aug 25) and Saturday as a result of Hurricane Harvey, which was later downgraded to a tropical storm.

One video released by the Coast Guard shows a man in a life jacket being pulled to shore as a vessel called the Signet Enterprise languishes in the background with its stern submerged.

Officials said the four people airlifted from that scene were among 15 who were rescued near Port Aransas on Saturday. Seven had been aboard a tugboat called Sabine and were airlifted to a rig near Aransas Pass; four were rescued from a vessel called Sandy Point.

The rescues there involved two Coast Guard MH-65 helicopters, Capt. Tony Hahn said in a statement. Officials said the Coast Guard deployed 14 boats and seven helicopters to Houston.

Officials had warned Texans to stay off the water.

"If you've evacuated, please stay where you're at," Hahn said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.

"The most important thing right now is your safety," he added. "Where your boat might be is most likely not a nice place - or not a safe place."

Officials said two people and a dog were in good condition after being rescued near Rockport. A spokeswoman for the Coast Guard said three people on a fishing vessel had also been rescued, but she did not provide additional details.

On Friday, the Coast Guard said it had rescued a dozen people aboard a 160-foot vessel that had been taking on water near Port Mansfield. All 12 people were reported to be in stable condition with no injuries, the Coast Guard said.

As of Saturday afternoon, one storm-related death had been reported, in Rockport, where the storm made landfall and did significant damage.

Harvey was a fierce Category 4 hurricane when it struck land Friday night. It was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005, and it was expected to hover over Texas until at least midweek. Forecasters warned that the storm would continue to produce torrential rain and that catastrophic flooding was possible.

By late Saturday, the Coast Guard had released a video of a flight from Port Aransas to Port O'Connor, which was meant to help officials assess the storm's damage.

In a statement released with the flyover video, Hahn called the resilience and spirit of the region "inspirational".

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.