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Federal, state officials investigating boating accident

Posted at 10:58 AM, Jul 04, 2019

Federal and state officials are working together to investigate a boat crash that led to the death of a Sulphur man yesterday.

The body of Joseph J. Bergeron, 34, of Sulphur, was found yesterday after a crash in the Calcasieu River Ship Channel near Hackberry. He was ejected from his boat after it hit a dredge pipeline operating in the channel, officials say. Another person was injured in the crash, the Coast Guard says.

Today, the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles is conducting a Marine Casualty Investigation in collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division to determine the cause of the collision.

Part of the channel was closed after the crash while the Coast Guard, state Wildlife and Fisheries agents and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office Marine Enforcement Unit searched for Bergeron.

“The Coast Guard strongly encourages the Southwest Louisiana boating community to exercise caution when transiting near areas where dredging operations are taking place," said Lt. William Hickey, Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles prevention department chief. "Boaters should be on the lookout for potential hazards and operate at a speed that allows them to detect and avoid hazards safely."

The Coast Guard also reminds vessel operators to have wearable Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFD) for each person onboard and recommends everyone to wear a life jacket while aboard an operating vessel. The Coast Guard, and its partner agencies, plan to have an increased presence on the water during the 4th of July weekend to promote safe and enjoyable boating practices.