Nov 2, 2011 11:00 PM by Melissa Hawkes
Captain Jeremy Parfait of Houma says on September 8th he made countless calls to the company his crew worked for, Geokinetics, saying they needed to evacuate, but no one came to their rescue.
"That's what makes me so angry, that I couldn't get any help," he said.
In fact, the one vessel, the Mermaid Vigilance, which parfait says was supposed to be on standby left them.
Parfait talked to the Captain of the vessel and pleaded with him to take his crew inland, but he was told "No captain. It's not safe. I'm not staying here'."
Parfait and his nine crew members were 11 miles off the coast in the Bay of Campeche working on a lift boat, the Trinity Two. Crew member Ted Derise Jr. of New Iberia said intense wind and waves were crashing down on them.
"We were flat in the water with 25 foot seas rolling right over the top," he said.
Derise said the vessel's legs were breaking and the crew had no other choice but to go in the water. Parfait made his last calls for help.
"We got a 12 man life raft and one after another we just got into the water in a single file line," Derise said.
The men first tried to get into an inflatable covered life boat equipped with food, medicine and water, but the wind blew it away. They were left with a 12 man raft without any supplies.
Derise said, "All we had was to hold onto that raft with rope and that was it. You would be vomiting under water. I mean it was unbearable."
A worker from Australia, Aaron Howeling, lost his grip the first night.
"He started screaming and hollering. ‘Help! Help! '," Derise said.
Parfait added, "When we would go up, we would hear him. Then when the seas would come up it would put a wall around him and we couldn't hear him anymore. We swam for hours to try to get to him."
After two and a half hours, the men couldn't swim anymore.
On Friday, the storm started to die down. Derise said the waves were only 15 or 20 feet high, but the elements were starting to take a toll on some of the men, like 32 year old Craig Myers of New Iberia.
"Everything was hurting on him," Parfait said. "He was freezing; he was cold. He was saying he wanted to go home."
Derise said, "He was really, really dehydrated."
As day two came to a close, the men were miles away from the Trinity Two, floating aimlessly in the gulf. All of them were sunburned, thirsty and a few were starting to hallucinate, but Parfait and Derise still believed they'd be rescued soon.