Hunting Guides Rescue Two Missing Men in Aransas Pass

Two men who were reporting missing Monday evening are alive because of a couple of local hunting guides who happened to be in the right place at the right time Tuesday morning.

The temperature along the coast hovered around 33 degrees in the early-morning hours Tuesday, and while other parts of the Coastal Bend saw even colder temperatures, it was still not the best conditions for duck hunting or fishing.

Still, a couple fishing and hunting guides dealt with the elements during the worst of the frigid conditions.

"We were just duck hunting, running a duck hunting trip," Duck Hunting Guide J.C. Algueseva said.

"We're both captains," guide Cooper Hartmann said. "Both certified fishing guides."

The avid outdoorsmen know the small islands that dot the coastline along Aransas Pass like no others, but long before dawn, they were startled.

"Sitting there hunting, next thing a guy is coming to the edge of my boat," Algueseva said. "So I go over there. I could see that he was in distress and needed help."

It soon became evident that it was a matter of life and death.

"He was freezing. He didn't have no clothes hardly on. Soaking wet," Algueseva said. "He explained to us that he'd flipped his boat."

While Algueseva transported the man to the dock to get medical help, he learned that there was another person still out on one of the islands. So both Algueseva and Hartmann went back out to search for the second survivor.

"I came across their boat, which was a little small, like a 10-foot with a small motor on. It was full of water, washed up on the bank," Hartmann said. "I went to looking and about oh, 100 yards from the boat, he was laying face down in the grass, and I ran over to him and at first, I didn't think he was breathing."

It turned out, the two unidentified men were reported missing at 5 p.m. Monday. The U.S. Coast Guard was called out around 1 a.m. and began the search.

One of the rescued men is 24 years old. He was transported to Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital by Coast Guard helicopter. The second man, in his 40s, was taken to the hospital by his rescuers. Both are expected to be okay.

The experience was like no other for the guides, who can't believe how being at the right place helped save two lives.

"Thank God we were actually out there, to be around, and the good Lord was watching over everybody, and everybody finally getting to them before it was too late," Hartmann said.


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