Last week, the Seacor Power capsized with 19 crew members on board. Six of those crew members were rescued after the accident and five more are confirmed to have died. On Monday night, the Coast Guard said that it would cease rescue operations. Eight crew members remain unaccounted for.
According to Coast Guard Captain Will Watson, guardsmen covered 12,000 miles searching for signs of the missing crew members.
“Suspension is difficult for us,” Watson said. “There are a host of factors that you might imagine as you go into deciding something like this, but the overriding factor is can a person - or the probability that the person could - survive given the conditions they are experiencing.”
Despite the Coast Guard’s announcement, search and rescue crews have remained dedicated to searching for survivors. Seacor Marine, the owner of the vessel, currently has 17 divers looking for survivors. In addition, private airplanes and other craft have been searching the waters for signs of the missing crew members.
On Tuesday, the United Cajun Navy confirmed that it recovered debris from the Seacor Power about 60 miles from where the boat capsized. In addition to parts from the vessel, Todd Terrell, president of the volunteer group, confirmed that a life raft was recovered.
The Cajun Navy has been using two seaplanes to look for signs of the missing . They’ve been searching the waters south of New Iberia in the Gulf of Mexico.
“There’s no guarantee that anybody was in that raft, it could’ve just come off of that vessel but it was definitely a life raft from that vessel,” said Terrell.
While the Coast Guard is no longer directly involved with rescue efforts, it’s maintaining a half-mile perimeter around the Seacor Power’s wreckage as divers search for survivors.
“We just heard that the galley had been cleared. There are two more rooms left in the search for the divers and one of those rooms is the engine room and we are hopeful there might be survivors in there,” Terrell said.
Did Seacor Marine Have Warnings About Dangerous Conditions?
Speculation has surrounded the reasoning behind sending the Seacor Power out to sea during rough conditions. Warnings from the National Weather Service cautioned mariners of the dangers at sea that day.
“There were warnings, but not the magnitude of which we encountered,” Seacor Marine President and CEO John Gellert said.
However, meteorologist David Bernard points out that Seacor Marine might have had plenty of time to get the Seacor Power back to safety. He asserts that it’s clear that warnings were issued, and that the investigators will pay attention to the reactions to them.
“There will be two factors they look at one what were the actual conditions meteorologically that’s pretty easy to discern because we have this radar data, but then it comes down to what were the human factors that went into this disaster who made the decisions when and for what reason,” said Bernard.
Lauren Nash with the National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed that the agency had issued warnings throughout the week for the unusually severe weather. She also revealed that the NWS has provided information to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). From here, investigators will determine the human factors that contributed to this accident.
“We kind of just step back and provide the data and provide the information and it’s their job to investigate and determine, you know what, not just what happened but you know what can we do better next time—what can anybody do better next time. How can we keep people safe,” Nash commented.
Our Seacor boat accident lawyers will continue to follow updates about this story.