Harvey-related rescues keep US Coast Guard busy

As Hurricane Harvey approached the Gulf Coast of Texas last week, various authorities had warned Texans to stay off the water.

“If you’ve evacuated, please stay where you’re at,” U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Tony Hahn told reporters Saturday. “The most important thing right now is your safety,” he added. “Where your boat might be is most likely not a nice place — or not a safe place.”

But apparently some decided not to heed the message: The Coast Guard rescued a total of 32 people from Texas waters between Friday and Saturday, the New York Times reported.

According to the Times and Fox 4 in Dallas-Fort Worth:

--  Four people were rescued from a vessel called the Signet Enterprise, with Coast Guard video showing one of them wearing a lifejacket as he was pulled ashore.

--  Seven people were airlifted to a rig near Aransas Pass. They had been aboard a tugboat called Sabine.

-- Four people were rescued from a vessel called Sandy Point.

--  Two people and a dog were in good condition at a hospital after being rescued near Rockport.

-- Three people on a fishing vessel were rescued, but the Coast Guard did not provide additional details.

--  Twelve people were rescued Friday from a 160-foot vessel that had been taking on water near Port Mansfield. All were in stable condition with no injuries, the Coast Guard said.

Equipment used by the Coast Guard included two MH-65 helicopters, the Times reported. In all, the newspaper said, the Coast Guard deployed 14 boats and seven helicopters to Houston.

The Coast Guard has stationed rescue boats and planes at several locations around parts of Southeast Texas affected by Harvey.

The Coast Guard’s Houston-Galveston sector protects the coastline near the nation's fourth-largest city, a region home to a critical port and major oil refineries.

Capt. Kevin Oditt, sector commander, told reporters Saturday that he's confident the refineries have made contingency plans for the rain and winds expected to pelt the area for several days.

The Coast Guard closed the Port of Houston on Friday. At least two dozen boats in the sector were on standby for water rescues or other emergencies.

Harvey came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Friday night but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Harvey was a fierce Category 4 hurricane when it struck land on Friday night. It was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005, and it was expected to hover over Texas until at least midweek.

Forecasters warned that the storm would continue to produce torrential rain and that catastrophic flooding was possible.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.