Search Under Way for Crewmember From Mississippi Steamboat
The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a crewmember from the steamboat American Queen who went over the side at about 0200 hours on Wednesday morning.
According to the vessel's operator, the crewmember fell overboard early Wednesday as the vessel approached Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The American Queen's crew began search and rescue efforts and notified the U.S. Coast Guard, which responded to the scene along with other federal, state and local law enforcement. The steamboat assisted the search until it was released by the Coast Guard later in the morning.
The river was briefly shut down to all traffic over a six-mile stretch between milemarkers 224-230 in order to facilitate the operation. The restriction was lifted at about 1600 hours, but passing vessels are still advised to transit at minimum safe speed and to keep a lookout for signs of the victim. As of Wednesday evening, the crewmember has not been recovered, and the Coast Guard plans to search through the night.
The response assets include a search helicopter out of Air Station New Orleans, a response boat, the cutter Kickapoo, the marine unit of the East Baton Rouge Sheriffs Department, and a shore team from the Louisiana State University Campus Police.
"We commend our crew for their quick initial actions and search and rescue efforts. We’re thankful for the efforts of Coast Guard, state and local first responders as well as members of the maritime community who assisted with search and rescue efforts. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our fellow crewmember and their loved ones as the Coast Guard continues search efforts currently underway," said operator American Queen Voyages in a statement.