GALVESTON, Texas The search continued Thursday for a Houston man who handed his identification card to a fisherman and jumped off a rock pier into the Gulf, authorities and witnesses said.
The search for Jeffrey Ray Lane, 46, was expected to continue until dark as members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Galveston Island Beach Patrol combed land and water, Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said.
The Beach Patrol arrived at the 10th Street pier shortly after the 11:08 a.m. call for help from angler Paul Thompson, of Galveston.
He handed me his ID and said when the police come, give this to them, Thompson said. Then he just went off the end and jumped in the water started bobbing up and down.
Thompson yelled to the man before he went into the strong surf. Lifeguards flew red flags, warning of dangerous swimming conditions Thursday.
I said: Hey man! Come here. Let me talk to you, Thompson said. He just went on and jumped in the water just drowned.
Before Lane disappeared in the surf, Thompson called police, while David Gutierrez tried to toss Lane a circular life preserver.
When we got the buoy, it didn t have a string, Gutierrez said. So we tied it up with the line ... and tried to throw it to him. The wind just blew it right up in our face.
The life preserver wasn t heavy enough to overcome the breeze, Gutierrez said.
I wanted to jump in there and get him, but ain t no way I m going down with him, Gutierrez said.
The preserver normally is attached to a rope, but the rope was stolen, Davis said. Each is replaced about two or three times a year, he said.
A counselor with The Jessie Tree, a nonprofit, Galveston organization that offers help with social services and ministerial resources, assisted Lane s family at the end of the pier, Davis said.
Galveston police found Lane s car a few blocks from the seawall, Davis said.
He drove down here alone, called his family on the way down and said his goodbyes, Davis said.
A Coast Guard helicopter and boat and the beach patrol lifeguards, equipped with a personal watercraft, were unable to find Lane.
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