One man died Wednesday and another was recovering in a Lake Charles hospital after a fishing trip turned tragic when the pair’s 18-foot aluminum boat took on water about 10 miles offshore south of Cameron Parish.
Derek Romero, 19, of New Iberia, and Shane Marin, 19, of St. Martin Parish, are believed to have been floating in the Gulf of Mexico for at least nine hours when state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents found them about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday after an all-night search for the missing boaters, said agency spokesman Adam Einck.
Both men were alive but in poor condition when crews located them floating in their life jackets near the partially sunken boat, Einck said, and Romero ultimately died at a hospital in Cameron Parish after several attempts to keep him alive with CPR.
“On the way back to shore, Mr. Romero lost his pulse,” Einck said. “They stabilized him, but his pulse came and went intermittently, and it was never very strong.”
Romero was airlifted to South Cameron Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about noon.
Marin was taken to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and was listed in stable condition.
“He is expected to make a full recovery,” Einck said.
The duo had been out fishing since Tuesday morning, at first in a local area, but they decided to go farther out into the Gulf because the weather was so nice, said U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Andy Kendrick.
Einck said seas turned rough, with 6-foot to 8-foot waves, and Marin told agents the boat began taking on water at some point, though he was unsure precisely when.
“The survivor said that around midnight, everything went south on them,” Einck said.
Kendrick said the boat was nearly submerged when rescuers arrived.
“Just the bow of it was sticking out of the water,” he said.
The search began when concerned relatives called authorities when the men had not returned by Tuesday evening.
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries crews, which ultimately found the pair, searched closer to shore, while the Coast Guard deployed at least one helicopter, an airplane and cutters to search areas farther out in an operation that continued through the night, Kendrick said.
Kendrick said chances of survival in the Gulf are slim this time of year, when the water offshore has a temperature hovering around 68 degrees, cool enough to cause hypothermia.
“The survivability in the water is only 11 hours with the current water temperature,” Kendrick said. “Your chances out there are not very good.”