Search ends for fishermen missing off Texas coast

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 21, 2013 at 5:30 pm •  Published: April 21, 2013
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"The first and only thing I heard him say was he told us to get our life jackets on," Reynolds said.

The life jackets had already been washed away and the men were soon in the water as the boat quickly sank about 115 miles southeast of Galveston.

Reynolds and the three other crew members clung to debris to try to stay afloat.

One of the crew members tried to swim to where they had heard Patrick's voice coming from, while the others stayed close to Reynolds.

"I spotted the life raft. I told the other two guys that were right there with me, 'I see the life raft. I'm going to swim for it. You all follow me,'" Reynolds said.

Reynolds said one of his crewmates appeared to be in shock and didn't seem to want to let go of some debris he was clinging to. The other crewmate, who was not a good swimmer, seemed to follow Reynolds.

"I got in the raft. I heard them call out. There was a little ring inside there with a 60 foot line on it. I threw it in the direction I heard the guy hollering from, hoping he could grab a hold of it and pull himself to the life raft," he said. "Apparently he couldn't get a hold of it."

Reynolds said as he was trying to get his crewmates into the raft, he was also bailing water out of it. The 10 to 12 foot waves soon swept the raft away from his crewmates.

Reynolds spent about two hours floating in the water, firing flares twice into the air, before a Coast Guard jet flew overhead. Reynolds was eventually flown to Houston, having suffered only minor injuries.

Reynolds, who has been a fisherman for 35 years, said he is grateful to the Coast Guard for saving his life but is still dealing with the loss of his crewmates and friends.

Moore said he had worked with Patrick for about eight years and thought of him "like a brother."

"To all the families of the guys that are gone, if I could trade places with any one of them I would," Moore said.

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Follow Juan A. Lozano at http://www.twitter.com/juanlozano70