The Coast Guard was on scene of the capsized lift boat Seacor Power within 30 minutes of the vessel's first emergency transmission after it capsized eight miles off the coast of Port Fourchon in Lafourche Parish.
19 crew members were on board the commercial boat when it capsized during severe weather on Tuesday, April 13. Six have been rescued, six have been confirmed dead, and seven remain missing as of Monday, April 19. Here's what we know about the Seacor Power crew.
The Coast Guard is not releasing the names of those rescued, recovered, or missing.
The six crew members who were rescued Tuesday April 13, shortly after the boat capsized have not been publicly identified. The Coast Guard Cutter Glen Harris rescued one crew member, a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Grand Isle rescued a second, and good Samaritan vessels on scene with the Coast Guard rescued four others from the Gulf waters.
The first Coast Guard ship at the scene spotted five men clinging to the hull, and a helicopter crew lowered life vests and radios to them. Two of the men dropped into the water and were picked up by the Coast Guard. At about the same time, four others were rescued by good Samaritan vessels.
Tuesday night brought the potential for further rescues, as the Coast Guard was able to speak to the three people still on the hull using the radios. However, the seas were too rough to reach them. Later Tuesday night, the Coast Guard was notified that one person had fallen in the water and wasn't seen again. The two remaining people later told the Coast Guard they were going back inside the ship, and that was the last time the Coast Guard spoke with them.
Six deaths have been confirmed by the Lafourche Parish Coroner's Office.
Wednesday, April 14, one person's body was recovered from the water. He was identified as 63-year-old David Ledet of Thibodaux, the lift boat's captain. Ledet's obituary remembers him as dedicated and hard-working, known for his sense of humor and love for his family, especially his grandchildren.
"He also dedicated 50 years working on the water and offshore, which he was passionate about since childhood. He will be dearly missed by all his loved ones, but will always be remembered," the obituary reads.
Funeral services took place on Wednesday, April 21, in Thibodaux.
A second body was recovered in the water near Cocodrie during rescue operations on Thursday April 15, 2021. The body was transported to Grand Isle, where he was pronounced deceased. He was later identified as 69-year-old Ernest Williams of Arnaudville.
The family of Ernest Williams says he's remembered as a great family man and a hard worker. His wife tells KATC that they were married for 33 years, and he was a stepfather to four children. "Everything he did was for his family. He loved life and lived it to the fullest."
His wife says, Williams was an oil driller, then when he started cooking on ships, he would be asked for by name. He prided himself in baking from scratch and perfecting the presentation of each dish. Williams' wife says he was coming off of a 9 day shift when Captain David Ledet called for him specifically to come out to cook for them.
He said, "I've got to go cook for God's people, I got to do what I do." He wife lamented, "So he went out there...and now he is never coming back."
A benefit will be held for the Williams family on Friday, April 23 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Brooksdale Lafayette, located at 215 W. Farrel Road in Lafayette. Read more about the benefit.
A GoFundMe has also been set up for the Williams family. To make a donation, click here.
Funeral arrangements for Williams have been set. Read more here.
Divers who were diving on the capsized lift boat recovered two additional unresponsive crew members on Friday, April 16. They were identified Saturday by the Lafourche Parish Coroner's Office as 55-year-old James Wallingsford of Gilbert, Louisiana, and Anthony Hartford, 53, of New Orleans. The Coast Guard says the two were in the port-side engine room of the boat.
A father of one, James Wallingsford was a crane operator on the jackup barge. Nearly everyone who remembered Wallingsford to the New Orleans Advocate said he was gentle, hard-working, and always had a smile on his face.
Hartford, according to the New Orleans Advocate, was a lifelong chef on the Seacor Power. The youngest of his four children, 24-year-old Antranae, told the paper, "I had the best dad in the whole world. The whole world."
On Monday, April 19, a fifth crew member, recovered from the second level of the capsized lift boat on Sunday night, was identified as 36-year-old Lawrence Warren of Terrytown.
On Tuesday, April 20, a sixth body was recovered from the site of the capsized Seacor Power. The Lafourche Parish coroner identified the body as that of 31-year-old Quinon Pitre of the Lawtell area. The father of two was one of eight that remained missing.
A t-shirt fundraiser is being held to support Pitre's family. For more information, click here. Funeral Services for Pitre have been set, see those details here.
Seven of the 19 Seacor Power crew members remain missing. None have been identified by Coast Guard officials, but family members have identified some of the men to KATC and other media outlets. Loved ones hope those still missing have found air pockets to survive inside the ship, but authorities have not reported any contact with anyone inside the lift boat since Tuesday.
On Monday, April 19, the coast guard said it would suspend its search and rescue operations at sunset. Seacor Marine would continue to send divers into the vessel to search for those who remain missing.
"We are steadfast in our efforts to return those who remain missing," said John Gellert, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Seacor Marine.
Gellert said that Seacor would be communicating directly with families and provide appropriate updates to the public.
30-year-old Dylan Daspit of Iberia Parish was on the boat when it capsized, and his family remains without knowledge of his whereabouts. His wife, Hannah Coleman Daspit, asked everyone to "pray for a miracle. He needs to come home to his family. We can't live without him."
Jay Guevara of Lafayette also remains missing. Family members say he and Daspit are best friends, and they're holding on to hope that the pair are together and coming home.
"We think that they're not going to leave each other and we hope that they're found together," Guevara's finance, Krista Vercher, and Hannah Daspit said in an interview Wednesday. Guevara's sister, Susie Noyola, said she's confident her brother is remaining positive.
62-year-old Gregory Walcott of Abbeville also remains missing.
His niece, Crystel Randle, said his loved ones are in a state of shock. "It's like a bomb just exploded without any notice. We're staying in good faith that he will be found alive." According to Walcott's sister, he has worked offshore for 20 years and this moment is one they never imagined.
Crew members also confirmed by family to be among the missing include:
- 37-year-old Chaz Morales of Slidell who is a father of 3.
- Two additional crew members recovered unresponsive identified
- Body of crew member recovered Wednesday from Gulf identified
- Second body recovered identified as Arnaudville man
- Families of Acadiana men missing in Gulf holding on to hope
- Two additional Seacor crew members recovered unresponsive by divers Friday
- Bodies of 2 Seacor crew members identified
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