Updated: 12 Crew Missing, 1 Dead, 6 Rescued After Liftboat Capsizes
The U.S. Coast Guard and private crafts continued to search the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana for signs of the missing crew of a capsized liftboat that was lost during a sudden storm yesterday afternoon. The Coast Guard reported that one person had been pulled unresponsive from the water and pronounced dead while two cutters and multiple good Samaritan vessels rescued six people. A dozen people are believed to still be missing.
The search has encompassed more than 1,440 square miles, which is an area larger than the state of Rhode Island according to the Coast Guard with a combined search period of nearly 40-hours. Among the teams deployed by the Coast Guard in the search are two cutters, multiple aircrews on helicopters and search planes and small rescue boats as well crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Port Fourchon Harbor Patrol, Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, and seven good Samaritan vessels
“Our rescue crews have been diligently continuing the search and rescue efforts for the missing people from the capsized vessel,” said Capt. Will Watson, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.
One survivor was pulled from the water aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris (US Coast Guard photo)
The 129-foot platform vessel departed Port Fourchon, Louisiana shortly after mid-day on April 13 with a crew believed to number 19. Seacor Marine confirmed that it is one of its vessels, the U.S. flagged Seacor Power, the capsized approximately eight miles south of the port.
At the time of the accident, the National Weather Service had issued a warning for serve weather including high winds from a weather front with thunderstorms moving through the area. The National Weather Service’s New Orleans office told NBC News that winds in the area reached 70 to 80 mph creating rough sea conditions.
The Coast Guard reported that it received an emergency position indicating radio beacon notification at 4:30 p.m. on April 13 from the Seacor Power. The watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast, and multiple good Samaritan boat crews in the area immediately responded while the Coast Guard also dispatched its vessels.
The good Samaritans in the area were able to pull four people from the water. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris, a Fast Response Cutter, arrived on the scene within 30 minutes and rescued one person from the capsized vessel. A second Coast Guard vessel also arrived on the scene and rescued another person.
The search continued all day on Wednesday, April 14, despite bad weather conditions. The Coast Guard reported that sea conditions included 6-to 8-foot waves.
"We are deeply saddened by the news of the vessel capsizing and are working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities to support all efforts to locate our valued team members and partners," Seacor Marine said in a statement. "We would like to thank the U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritan vessels for their immediate response as well as the brave individuals who have further supported our search and rescue efforts. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone involved." Watson said that Seacor is contacting the next-of-kin of the crew.
Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris is one of the vessels in the search and rescue (US Coast Guard photo)