PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

June 12, 2014

Police identify drowning victim

PORT ARTHUR — Port Arthur Police have identified a man who drowned while fishing on Wednesday as Marlin Wayne Francois, 37, of Port Arthur.

Francois had been fishing at the City of Port Arthur walkout pier off Lakeshore Drive when the incident occurred.

Capt. Troy Irvine of the Port Arthur Fire Department said they received a call shortly before 2 p.m. June 11 about a man who had either jumped or fallen into the ship channel.

A woman across the waterway at an RV park on Pleasure Island reportedly heard someone shouting, ran to her trailer and grabbed her binoculars. The woman saw a man in the water and called 911, PAPD Sgt. Jeff Smith said.

“As she was calling us, a Coast Guard boat was nearby and she flagged them down and they began searching,” Smith said.

Port Arthur Fire and Rescue and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department Marine Unit also took part in the search.

Once shipping traffic was halted, which took about 30 minutes, two divers began their search, Irvine said. The victim was located about five minutes later.

Justice of the Peace Tom Gillam was called to the scene and ordered an autopsy. Foul play is not suspected in the incident and it is believe to be a tragic accident, PAPD Sgt. Scott Gaspard said in a press release.

Police believe the man had been fishing as there was a bag of bait shrimp, a fishing pole and a bicycle near the scene.

This is the second drowning in Port Arthur this year.

Christopher Ramirez, 26, fishing at a pier on North Levee Road on Pleasure Island at about 1:11 a.m. May 10 when he dropped personal property into the water and jumped in to retrieve it. A companion left him to call for help and when she returned she did not see him anymore. His body was later recovered.

Irvine offered some safety tips for those around water.

“Make sure you have good, solid footing,” he said. “Don’t fish alone, bring a buddy. And bring your own flotation device or life ring or buoy in case something happens then you’re prepared.”

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

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