Witness challenges police account of fatal boating accident



Update: The report that Captain Gary Cooper was driving his boat without running lights is disputed. The Port Aransas Police Department’s preliminary report said Cooper’s traffic lights were not on, but a witness, James Joseph, in a boat running behind Cooper, said both boats had running lights on. .
The investigation continues under the direction of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
This is a developing story and the South Pier will continue to update as information becomes available.

The original information, some of which is disputed, received by Port Aransas Police South Pier is as follows:

Captain Gary Cooper is the victim of the fatal boating accident this morning reported earlier from the South Pier, according to Lt. James Stokes of the Port Aransas Police Department.
Cooper was a longtime fishing guide in Port Aransas.
Preliminary investigation shows that a boat operated by Cooper was heading east toward the Gulf of Mexico just before 6:30 a.m., “sailing apparently without lights,” Stokes said.
A second boat in the Lydia Ann Channel heading for the city marina collided with Cooper’s boat in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Stokes said.
Cooper was thrown into the water, the lieutenant said, and the occupants of the second boat pulled him out of the water and began lifesaving measures, including CPR. Cooper was taken by the second boat to Fisherman’s Wharf where EMS was waiting, Stokes said.
“He didn’t survive,” Stokes added.
EMS director Daniel Johnson said in addition to the death, one person suffered non-life-threatening injuries and three people refused medical treatment.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Texas Parks and Wildlife are investigating the crash, Stokes said.


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