One person has died, six have been rescued, and a dozen are still missing as the U.S. Coast Guard and a fleet of independent maritime volunteers continue to search for crewmembers after a commercial platform vessel capsized during a brutal storm Tuesday afternoon.
What are the details?
A 129-foot liftboat named Seacor Power departed from Port Fourchon, The Washington Post reported, when "it found itself caught in a ferocious storm, facing up to 90 mph gusts and towering waves that capsized the commercial vessel carrying 19 people in the Gulf of Mexico."
The newspaper reported that "the U.S. Coast Guard and a fleet of good Samaritans" continued to search Wednesday for the sailors who remained unaccounted for.
Coast Guard New Orleans sector commander Capt. Will Watson explained during a media conference that just before 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the Coast Guard received a distress call from a "good Samaritan" who reported seeing the Seacor Power capsized roughly seven nautical miles from Port Fourchon. The ship had left the port at around 1:30 p.m. that day.
CBS News reported that the Seacor Power also put out its own distress call, after which the Coast Guard "issued an urgent marine broadcast that prompted multiple private vessels in the area to respond, saving four of the crewmembers." The outlet added that "Coast Guard crews in boats rescued another two people."
Watson said, as an aside to his prepared statement the next morning, that the Coast Guard has received "so many calls from folks in the maritime industry that want to get involved and it's been tremendous." He added that volunteers offered to help from both the sea and the air to assist in the search efforts.
When asked about the ongoing efforts to find the dozen sailors still missing, Watson said:
"I'll put it to you this way: Whenever we engage, the Coast Guard engages in a search and rescue effort. We are hopeful. You can't do this work if you're not optimistic, if you're not hopeful when you do it. … We're one day approximately into this operation and we're giving it all we got."
U.S. Coast Guard update on capsized ship off Louisiana coast www.youtube.com
Nola.com reported that the Seacor Power was not the only boat that struggled during the storm.
The outlet spoke with a crewmember of another vessel, the Poppa P, who reported hearing no less than 15 distress calls, including one by a shrimp boat that overturned and another from a different vessel that took on water.
The crewman said that the Poppa P also heard the distress call from the Seacor Power.
"They were screaming, 'Seacor Power just flipped,'" he recalled, adding, "It was terrifying to hear."