Two Texas hunters are being hailed as heroes after they interrupted their duck hunt on Tuesday to rescue two missing men. According to KIII-TV, Cooper Hartmann and JC Algueseva are both veteran hunters and certified fishing guides. When they decided to hit the waters on January 7, much of the country was still locked in a deep freeze due to a “polar vortex” sweeping down from the North Pole. Texas was among the many states affected and recorded single digits all along its northern border. Compared to the rest of the nation, Aransas Pass was an almost balmy 33 degrees when the Hartmann and Algueseva launched their boat.
The hunters were familiar with the area, and knew that the small coastal islands near Port Aransas were prime duck hunting territory. However, the guides hand’t spent much time on the water when they spotted someone swimming towards their craft.
“Sitting there hunting, next thing a guy is coming to the edge of my boat,” Algueseva said. “So I go over there. I could see that he was in distress and needed help.”
The man was wet, cold, and obviously panicked. As Algueseva and Hartmann took the man back to the dock, they learned that he was thrown into the water when his boat overturned. The freezing man also explained that a companion of his was still somewhere in the water.
The hunters called for help and contacted the US Coast Guard, which dispatched a helicopter to transport the victim to a hospital. Algueseva and Hartmann then took their boat in search of the other boater.
Hartmann was the first to find the overturned boat, which was washed up on the shore of one of the islands. Searching the area, he found the second survivor nearby and laying in the grass. When Hartmann approached the man, he feared that it was too late for a rescue. However, the hunters managed to get the man to a hospital, where he and the first victim are expected to recover.
Algueseva and Hartmann said they are glad they were in a position to help, but wildlife agencies advise outdoorsmen to take extra precaution during cold weather.
Image courtesy City of Aransas Pass