For the last 48 hours, we’ve been following the Seacor Power capsizing incident. Since we initially reported on the incident last night, more details have emerged about the events leading up to the boat capsizing and the situation surrounding it.
So far, officials have revealed that the lift boat had 19 people aboard it when it capsized. Of these people, 6 were rescued, 1 was found dead, and 12 more are still missing. As of Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard is continuing its search for survivors using boats, helicopters, and airplanes.
“My heart and the collective heart of our team goes out to the families and to Seacor, but we’re giving it all we have,” Coast Guard Captain Will Watson said to the press on Wednesday.
Officials remain hopeful that they’ll find survivors, although the accident happened more than 24 hours ago.
“I’ll put it to you this way, whenever we engage, the Coast Guard engages in a search and rescue effort, we are hopeful,” he said. “You can’t do this work if you’re not optimistic, if you’re not hopeful when you do it. … We’re one day approximately into this operation and we’re giving it all we got.”
Currently, the Seacor Power remains overturned just south of Grand Isle. The Coast Guard confirmed that it received a distress call at approximately 4:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Coast Guardsmen arrived at the scene approximately 30 minutes later. When they arrived, they assisted several good Samaritan vessels that were already in the process of locating and helping survivors.
About the Seacor Power
The Seacor Power is a lift boat that’s used to aid offshore operations ranging from drilling to construction. It can work in up to 195 feet of water. According to Seacor’s website, the vessel can carry a crew of 12 as well as 2 “special personnel,” and 36 passengers.
Currently, no details have been released regarding the relationship of the Seacor’s Power crew to Seacor and what the mission the vessel was on.
Dangerous Weather Conditions Caused the Louisiana Capsizing Accident
On Tuesday, strong thunderstorms moved into the New Orleans area. High winds and extensive rain caused damage in the area before the system headed out over the ocean. According to the Coast Guard, there were wind gusts of approximately 80-90 mph at the time of the capsizing. One ship in the gulf recorded wind gusts of up to 117 mph. In addition to 7- to 9-foot waves, the Seacor Power had to contend with limited visibility.
“That’s challenging under any circumstance. We don’t know the degree to which that contributed to what happened, but we do know those are challenging conditions to be out in a maritime environment,” Watson commented.
Occupants of other vessels commented on social media that radio channels were filled with mayday calls. Videos of those who escaped the conditions show water violently crashing over the bow of vessels as they struggled to get to safety.
According to weather experts, the strong winds might be the result of something known as a “wake low.” This happens when low pressure builds in a small area and flanks thunderstorm complexes—causing the sea to become rougher than usual.
Currently, worried families of the missing are in the area waiting for news from their loved ones. One person, a fiancée of one of the missing workers, told reporters that she begged him not to go out in those conditions.
“He said that they were jacking down and they were about to head out, and I’m like, ‘The weather’s too bad. You need to come home.’ And he’s like, ‘I wish I could,’” she told reporters.
Shrimp boat captain Aaron Callais was also caught in the severe weather event. He described it as being unlike anything he’s seen before.
“There was nothing we could do. One minute we were facing north, the next south, then east and west,” he said. “Things were flying in the cabin.′”
The shrimper posted a video on Facebook showing the conditions his boat was fighting. He could be heard on the phone speaking with his dad, “letting him know the situation, that it wasn’t looking good. We didn’t know if we were going to make it out.”
The Coast Guard has already searched an area the size of Maine looking for survivors of the accident. Captain Watson has confirmed that the Coast Guard is investigating why the lift boat went out to sea despite warnings of dangerous conditions.
“We continue to pray for everyone who is on that vessel, as well the families, as well as the Seacor Marine families,” Artie Chaisson III, the Lafourche Parish president said. “We continue to pray for the rescue operators who are out there continuing to help bring these people home.”
Our Seacor injury and death attorneys will continue to follow this story as officials continue their search and investigation.