The U.S. Coast Guard says rescue divers were still searching Friday for 12 missing crew members of a commercial lift boat that capsized three days earlier in a fierce storm off the Louisiana coast.
The U.S. Coast Guard Heartland, based in New Orleans, reported on its Twitter account that divers from a salvage company were able to take advantage of break in the weather Thursday and reached the exposed hull of the 39-meter-long Seacor Power. It said divers knocked on the hull but received no response.
The Coast Guard says most of the ship is submerged in roughly 15 meters of water, about 20 kilometers off the Louisiana coast. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Gonzales told reporters the divers would continue the search Friday if weather permits.
FILE – A Coast Guard Station Grand Isle boat crew heads toward a capsized 175-foot commercial lift boat while searching for people in the water 8 miles (about 13 km) south of Grand Isle, Louisiana, April 13, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard/Handout)
Gonzales also provided more information about the rescue operation that ensued Tuesday after the ship activated its emergency beacon. The crew of a Coast Guard ship that responded to the scene reported seeing five men clinging to the hull. A helicopter crew from the marine company Bristow, a marine company, lowered life vests and VHF radios to them.
He said two of the men dropped into the water and were picked up by the Coast Guard. About the same time, “Good Samaritan” vessels — boats responding to the emergency call — rescued four other people.
The Coast Guard also was able to talk to the three people still on the ship’s hull using the radios that had been dropped. Later Tuesday night, the Coast Guard was notified that one person had fallen in the water and wasn’t seen again.
The Coast Guard says a total of six people were rescued that day and the body of another was recovered.
The ship, named the Seacor Power, is what is known as a lift ship, a self-propelled commercial vessel with an open deck that is deployed to carry heavy equipment, often to support drilling or exploration. It can float freely or deploy “legs” to secure itself to the bottom of the ocean.
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