CUT OFF, La. — A crewmember aboard the Papa P, a crew boat that was traveling in the Gulf of Mexico on Tueday, recalls when his ship got the distress signal of the Seacor Power, a 129-foot lift boat, which capsized Tuesday during severe weather.
Simon Bruce, of Cut Off, was aboard the Papa P, a 150 foot long boat out of Chauvin, Tuesday evening when his captain began getting May Day distress calls from the Seacor Power.
"I saw a little bit of everything last night," said Bruce. "I saw crazy waves. I saw crazy winds. I saw something that I had never seen in my life before."
Bruce said that the captain aboard the vessel, who's been at the helm for more than 40 years in the Gulf of Mexico, told him that he had never gotten so many distress calls at once.
"He’s never heard as many May Day calls as I heard," said Bruce. "We all heard the same calls yesterday. He’s never heard so many calls back to back to back to back of 'vessels taking on water,' and 'vessels capsizing.'
Bruce said the Papa P was about 20 miles off the coast of Louisiana when they started getting severe weather alerts on Tuesday morning.
"It was just a regular old day," he said. "We didn't think anything of it. We thought it would just be a normal little squall that came through. We didn't think it would be hurricane tropic stuff."
Bruce said that when the boat was about 25 miles off the cost is when they started getting the May Day calls.
He said that the severe weather in the Gulf started at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday and lasted until 6 p.m.
He said he couldn't see any capsized boats out of the water due to the severe rains.
"At that point time, you could just see the front of your boat," he says. "You didn't have any visibility you couldn't see a quarter bow in front of you the waves and wind was so strong we could never get a clear window had the windshield wipers on non stop."
He said that when his ship was about seven miles away from the Seacor Power is when his captain confirmed that the vessel had capsized.
"The captain just looked at me he said, 'Seacor Power, Seacor Power just flipped over, just slipped over' and made me go downstairs with another guy and warn the crew to break away the life jackets," he said.
He said the entire crew then put on life jackets and told to prepare for anything unexpected.
"My heart just started racing, it was crazy," Bruce said. "I was just scared - not just for my life, but I felt scared for everybody's life at that point. Because, if we had lost proportion at any time it would have been bad for all of us."
Bruce said his ship was able to make it back to shore, and is thankful that he and the rest of the crew returned safely.
"I just want everybody to pray for everybody's families out there that's going through this and I want everybody to pray for peace and protection for all the loved ones that are searching for their missing family members," he said.
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