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Recently-formed task force helps search for missing swimmer

Port Aransas beach.png
Posted at 6:42 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 20:10:19-04

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Volunteers are assisting the Coast Guard and Port Aransas rescue teams in locating the 20-year-old man from San Antonio who went missing Wednesday morning.

The man, whose identity is unknown, reportedly was caught in a rip current and has not been seen since around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Those volunteers are known as the Padre Island Search and Rescue Task Force. The task force -- whose Facebook page was created shortly after local teenager Andru Bass died after being caught in a rip current -- sees helping Nueces County Emergency Services District No. 2 and the Coast Guard keep the beaches safe as its mandate.

“I know if I was in that situation, I would be grateful that there are volunteers and groups like this out there… to assist,” said task force coordinator Michael Bazan.

The team's communication methods are simple: It texts, it uses an app called Zello, and it marks its cars with stickers and turns its hazard lights on.

The team has spent the last two days searching up and down the beach, from beach marker 10, all the way down to marker 99, for the missing man.

The man and his father were in the water. When the son began having trouble making it back to shore, his father went in after him.

The older man was taken to a local hospital for treatment. There have been no updates on his condition since officials said he was critical Wednesday night.

Port Aransas local Victoria Spencer Smith is glad for the task force.

“I think it’s incredible," she said. "This whole community comes together in times of crises, regardless of what type it is, really. But for people to volunteer their time, that have a real passion to help -- and I think that that’s awesome, and I so appreciate them being out here.”

The young man has yet to be found. KRIS 6 News will post updates as they come.