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Search ends for 4 fishermen off Texas coast

HOUSTON — The Coast Guard on Sunday called off its search for four fishermen who disappeared off the Texas Gulf Coast after their boat sank.

The effort was suspended at 12:30 p.m. after rescue crews searched a 5,400-square-mile area with planes, helicopters, and boats.

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The 50-foot vessel sank early Friday morning about 115 miles southeast of Galveston, near the Texas-Louisiana state line. There were five men on board the boat.

One of the men, John Reynolds, was rescued Friday.

The Coast Guard identified three of the missing fishermen as Don Windom, Duoc Dan Nguyen, and Jamie Esquivel. Larry Moore, the boat’s owner, said a fourth missing man was Charles Patrick, the captain.

Weather conditions were bad at the time the distress call was received, the Coast Guard said. Sustained winds were 33 miles per hour. The water was 50 degrees, and sea swells were between 10 feet and 15 feet, which was enormous for the boat the men were in.

Reynolds said the crew did what it normally would, tying the boat to an oil rig off the Texas Gulf Coast and going to sleep. But ‘‘a rogue wave, a freak wave or something hit the side of the boat,’’ he said.

‘‘It just collapsed the cabin . . . where the captain sleeps,’’ he said. ‘‘When it hit, it tore the whole top of the boat off.’’

About five hours after the distress signal, a search team found Reynolds on a life raft. He was returned to Galveston later Friday, and told the Coast Guard he was unsure what had happened to the other four fishermen, Petty Officer Richard Brahm said.

Overnight Friday, the Coast Guard searched an area slightly smaller than the state of Delaware.

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