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Texas Water Safari team rescued after flare spotted

Canoe rescue landscape

Red flares and other emergency equipment played a vital part in the rescue of participants in the Texas Water Safari after their canoe capsized.

Brian Smith, Jesus Gomez, Robert Pollock and Lori Pollock in team Hormiga were rescued by A Sector / Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from a remote island in Guadalupe Bay.

They were seen after the flare they fired was spotted by the aptly-named Salvation towing vessel, early one morning in June 2017 during the canoe race.

The annual 260-mile race, which is claimed to be the toughest in the world, runs from Aquarena Springs, San Marcos, to Seadrift on the Texas coastline, via the San Marcos and Guadalupe rivers.

The Coast Guard was notified and the helicopter saw a flashing light and found the four team members. A large wave overturned their canoe when they were less than 10 miles away from the finishing line in Seadrift.

Captain Tony Hahn, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi, says, “We commend the Texas Water Safari Corporation for ensuring that the participants of the race were well equipped for the hazards associated with recreational activities on the water.

“The participants had Coast Guard approved life jackets and red aerial flares, a strobe-light, a whistle, a first aid kit, food and water. This equipment was crucial in signaling for help and allowing them to survive.

The helicopter crew took them to Calhoun County airport. There were no injuries to the four adults.

The image is courtesy of USCG: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSCG/bulletins/1a279d0

Jul 12, 2017