CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The U.S. Coast Guard rescued five people off the Texas coast on Monday after their boat started sinking.
Four lancha crews were fishing illegally near Corpus Christi when they were spotted by a sentry airplane from the Coast Guard Air Station at Corpus Christi.
A lancha is a 20-30 foot, slender fishing boat with a single motor. It can travel at speeds exceeding 30 mph, according to the Coast Guard.
Two lanchas were approximately 12 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line and two crews were approximately 5 miles north of the Maritime Boundary Line, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Coast Guard Station South Padre Island launched their own boat to intercept the lanchas and when they arrived at the scene they noticed five fishermen in the water.
The five fishermen were detained and transferred to border enforcement agents.
Video of the rescue can be seen in the video player above.
“This case illustrates the dynamic mission set of Station South Padre Island,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Alfredo Benavidez. “The original mission, protection of natural resources, quickly shifted to search and rescue. Fortunately, my crew and I were able to quickly and effectively save five lives and protect our natural resources and ecosystem from illegal poaching.”
Lanchas are frequently used to transport illegal narcotics to the U.S. and illegally fish in the United States, the press release states.
If you witness suspicious activity or illegal fishing in state waters contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s “Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-GAME (4263).