The Coast Guard called off its search late Saturday afternoon for a Mansfield school district ninth-grader who disappeared Friday in the choppy waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The teen, identified by NBC 5 as Carlos Perez, 16, was playing off the Bob Hall Pier on Padre Island with friends Friday morning when he was apparently swept away.
The Lake Ridge High student was in Corpus Christi for a SkillsUSA state competition, Mansfield Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas said in a statement Friday.
The Coast Guard searched with a helicopter and 45-foot response boat from when the call came in at about 10:50 a.m. Friday until about sunset, then resumed the operation after sunrise Saturday, said a Coast Guard spokeswoman, Lt. j.g. Shelly Brown. The Corpus Christi fire and police departments also helped.
“Pending any further developments, we’ve suspended active search,” Brown said. “Our condolences go out to the family. It’s never an easy decision to suspend a search. It’s done with care and deliberation. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, our crews were not able to locate him.”
She said that although the active search has been suspended, the Coast Guard practice is to alert other agencies and the public in that area to “keep a sharp eye.”
Brown said the MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter, which is housed at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, and the rescue boat logged a collective 10 1/2 hours on Friday and Saturday, allowing for several trips to base for refueling and switching out crew members. They searched 170 square miles of ocean near the pier.
On Friday, the search crews battled 25-mph winds and 4- to 8-foot waves while facing a gale wind warning, Brown said.
Corpus Christi police reported that they responded to a call at 10:45 a.m. Officers met a man who told them the teenager was playing off the Bob Hall Pier on Padre Island with friends and disappeared in the rough water.
During good summer weather, water disappearances are not uncommon, Brown said. The body of a man who disappeared on his kayak Thursday was discovered near Port Isabel by Texas Parks and Wildlife officials. Another man missing on an inflatable paddle boat in the Brownsville ship channel made it safely back to land Friday night.