posted on Mar, 4 2007 @ 05:28 PM
This story sounds highly suspicious. First, I want the background information leading up to their rescue. Primarily, how did they contact
the Coast Guard? If the family themselves contacted the CG by radio, then they would have to provide certain details as to their location, would
they not? "SOS! Mayday! We're here in the Intracoastal Canal near High Island, and...umm...we can't remember our names, birthdays nor our
respective body weights, and we need help!!"
See what I mean? There's something missing here, a disconnect between making a distress call (citing a specific location) and being so disoriented
that you can't even remember your name or birthday.
The Intracoastal Canal is not an expansive body of water — as the name suggests, it's just a canal, a couple hundred yards wide at its
widest, and maybe 20 or so feet deep — the Canal was designed to allow barge traffic to move up and down the coast in protected waters,
without venturing into the rough waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I know this because I was born in Houston, and as a teenager I used to fish all up and
down the Texas Gulf Coast, including at Bolivar Peninsula, Rollover Pass and High Island.
Yes, private citizens travel in the Canal all the time in small boats for fishing and crabbing and for the same reason the barges travel in there —
to avoid the rough coastal waters offshore. The point is, it's a canal... You're not going to get lost in the Intracoastal Canal.
You only have 2 directions, 2 options for travel... East or West. Either way, you're going to find civilization all around you, with boat
ramps and docks and baithouses and people who are always prepared to help somebody in trouble.
So, you would have to be pretty far gone — for example, stoned out of your mind or suffering from heat exhaustion — in order
to require emergency evacuation from the Canal. Again, if you're so oblivious that you need rescue, then how do you make a
coherent call for the Coast Guard?
Well, the CG press release does not say who made the emergency radio call. It could have been a local sheriff's deputy or even another
private citizen who made the call — and I would certainly think that other rescue options were considered before bringing in an HH-65C
Dolphin helicopter, of all things, to airlift these people back to Houston. So, whatever was wrong with them, it was bad ass.
According to the CG press release, the family complained that "their bodies felt like they were slowing down"... Anybody out there ever had
heat exhaustion? That's exactly what it feels like — just an overwhelming sinking feeling, like your strength is draining away,
followed by such profound fatigue that you just want to lay down and pass out. It happens pretty quickly, too.
But... heat exhaustion in early February? I'm telling you, I'm from the Texas Gulf Coast, and I've never experienced heat exhaustion in
early February. Early June, yes, mid-July, of course, and late August, damned straight... But not in early February.
What else could it be? No matter what time of year it is, hot or cold, people can get themselves into a hell of a predicament in the outdoors
by failing to prepare for the effects of dehydration. Odd as it may sound, traveling by water for hours at a time dehydrates people
faster than almost anything else — I suppose that's because your body is constantly, involuntarily trying to balance itself on the unsteady deck,
so you're getting an invisible workout without even realizing it, and the wind is evaporating your perspiration as fast as you can pump it out.
So, a family of three gets out there on the Intracoastal Canal in early February, the temperature feels pretty cool, and they don't bring enough
fluids to support themselves for several hours of travel. Next thing you know, dehydration sets in, with many of the same symptoms as heat
exhaustion, including that sinking feeling, as if your body is slowing down.
To me that seems the most likely scenario — although, I've never heard of airlifting victims of dehydration some 80 miles to a hospital in the
Texas Medical Center in Houston, especially since the hospitals in Galveston are prepared to deal with that sort of specific emergency on a moment's
notice, and Galveston is only 40 miles from High Island.
[edit on 3/4/2007 by Doc Velocity]