Authorities are continuing their search off the coast of Louisiana Wednesday for a dozen people who are missing from a commercial lift boat. Last night, we reported that approximately 18 people were thought to be on the boat when it capsized during severe weather. This morning, we can confirm that six people were rescued by the Coast Guard and nearby good Samaritan vessels. One person was found dead.
“The hope is that we can bring the other 12 home alive,” Archie Chaisson III, the Larfourche Parish president, said Wednesday. "Time is of the essence in the rescue efforts, as “we have the potential for some rough weather around lunchtime,” he continued.
A spokesman from Seacor Marine confirmed that the overturned vessel was the Seacor Power, a 129-commercial lift boat. These types of vessels are self-propelled work vessels with open decks. They’re commonly used along the Gulf Coast to support drilling, construction, and other offshore industries. The spokesman also confirmed how many people were on the vessel at the time of the accident but declined to provide additional details.
What We Know About the Capsizing of the Seacor Power
According to reports, the vessel left port at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The boat “ran into some trouble with the wind and the sea at about 4 p.m.,” Chaisson commented on Wednesday morning.
“We continue to pray for everyone who is on that vessel, as well the families, as well as the Seacor Marine families,” Chaisson said. “We continue to pray for the rescue operators who are out there continuing to help bring these people home.”
The incident is thought to have occurred eight miles south of Grand Isle and responders looked for survivors late into Tuesday night. They included civilian vessels as well as two cutters, two smaller boats, and a helicopter and an airplane from the Coast Guard.
On Tuesday, the area was hit by an onslaught of serious weather that brought winds in excess of 60 mph and 3 to 5 inches of rain. At one point, winds of up to 117 mph—approximately 101 knots—were recorded. Generally, navigators advise some smaller vessels to avoid wind gusts of 34 knots, as they’re strong enough to capsize small boats and inhibit the maneuverability of larger ones.
“I've NEVER Heard soo many MAYDAY calls in my life! Waves are breaking over the bow! A liftboat flipped.” said Facebook user Bruce J. Simon in a post. A video posted by Simon showed a vessel’s bow as waves crashed over it. He also mentioned seeing that “other boats have flipped” and urged people to pray for those onboard them.
Our Louisiana boat accident lawyers will continue to follow updates to this story as they’re released.