The man was identified as Capt. Robert Louis Adams, 65, who started his career as a deputy pilot for the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots Association in August 1989 and became a full pilot two years later. He was the third most-senior pilot in the port.

According to the Corpus Christi Caller Times, the USCG received a report at about 1:30 p.m., Saturday, of two people in the water in the LaQuinta Channel. The two men were recovered by a Good Samaritan vessel before the Coast Guard arrived, but one of them was unconscious when pulled out.

The pilot was climbing aboard a ship when its gangway collapsed, making him fall about 20 feet in the water, according to Henry de la Garza, a spokesman for the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots Association. He was reportedly about one step away when the whole thing collapsed, he said.

The report by the Caller Times adds that it took 45 minutes for rescuers to get to Adams, as they had to cut through fencing to reach him.