NewsCovering Louisiana


Coast Guard recounts first day of rescue, thermal images showed survivors inside hull of ship

Coast Guard hammer toss.jpg
Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 19:30:03-04

On Thursday, searches are continuing following the capsizing of a lift vessel on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico, just south of Port Fourchon off the coast of Louisiana.

So far, federal investigators have now joined in the work to uncover information about the capsizing incident. The NTSB confirmed with KATC that they will be assisting the Coast Guard in their investigation.

The Coast Guard is still leading the investigation, they confirm. The incident has been declared a major marine casualty.

Divers were able to conduct operations Thursday at the capsized vessel. Divers knocked on the hull of the vessel without hearing a response, the Coast Guard adds. Dive operations are secured for the day and are set to resume on Friday.

Search efforts will continue overnight into Friday with air and surface assets, the Coast Guard says.

Coast Guard says their air and surface assets searched overnight into Thursday and continued throughout the day on Thursday. Coast Guard crews have searched for a combined 70 hours covering approximately 6,380 square miles, an area roughly the size of Hawaii. They believe all 12 missing crew members are still on board the capsized vessel.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Galarza gave an account of the first night's rescue attempts. According to he said that thermal imaging shot from an airplane flying over the Seacor Power revealed five members of its 19-person crew on the hull.

They say that rescuers aboard a Coast Guard vessel then went and saw those five crew members at the site, seven miles south of Port Fourchon.

A helicopter crew dropped radios as well as life jackets, Galarza said, and two of the five hopped off and were saved by Coast Guard boat crew members. A third fell into the water and hasn't been located since, according to reports from others using radios, Galarza said.

That left two on the Seacor Power's hull. Late Tuesday night, as harsh weather conditions complicated the rescue effort, that pair said they were going back inside the ship. Both were last heard from just before 10 p.m. that night, Galarza said.

Those two are believed to still be in the hull of the ship.

On Thursday, Coast Guard boat crew members attempted to throw a hammer at the hull of the SeaCor Power to make contact with potential survivors inside the vessel. It was not clear if any response was heard.

#UPDATE Our U.S. Coast Guard rescue crews continue their search for 12 missing people from the capsized lift boat 8 miles south of #PortFourchon, #Louisiana. #Ready, #Relevant, #Responsive, #searchandrescue

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Heartland on Thursday, April 15, 2021

Divers are on scene Thursday to conduct an assessment and begin operations in support of the ongoing search and rescue effort.

On Wednesday, updates from the Coast Guard stated that 12 men were still missing. Six had been rescued so far and one death was confirmed. That person's identity was released on Thursday by Lafourche Parish coroner as David Ledet.

The families of four Acadiana men confirmed to KATC that they were on the ship when it capsized. No updates on those men have been released by officials. See more here

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