Divers continue search for 12 missing crew members from capsized boat near Grand Isle

State News

April 15 12:00 p.m. Update:

On Thursday morning, the family members of the missing crew members were called in for a private meeting with Seacor.

The meeting was set to start at noon.

Check back with WGNO for the latest on what came out of this meeting.


April 15 9:00 a.m. Update:

The count still remains at six rescued alive, one body recovered, and 12 missing.

A dive team was scheduled to hit the water at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, however, the weather has been quite severe, and there is no word on whether the team entered the water.

Coast Guard Captain Will Watson says all six of the rescued were found in the water “within the vicinity” of the vessel.

When asked if they were found inside the vessel, Capt. Watson said they were not, because the Coast Guard has not yet made entry inside the vessel. The remaining 12 crew members may be inside of the vessel.

Gregory Walcott is one of the unaccounted-for crew members. His Niece, Crystel Randle, said the following of the situation, “[I] don’t have any words, it’s just like a bomb exploded without any notice. We’re all just in shock right now, but still trying to hold our heads up, just stand on faith you know, we just still try to live in faith that he will be found alive.”


April 14, 5:00 p.m. Update:

Coast Guard rescue crews have searched more than 1,440 square miles, which is an area larger than the state of Rhode Island, during a combined search period of nearly 40-hours.

“Our rescue crews have been diligently continuing the search and rescue efforts for the missing people from the capsized vessel,” said Capt. Will Watson, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.

“When it comes to search and rescue, each case is dynamic and no single case is the same as the next. Anytime our Coast Guard crews head out for search and rescue, it is always our hope to safely bring those people back and reunite them with their friends and families.”

Just before 5 p.m., Seacor sent a statement to WGNO offering gratitude to all those involved in the search efforts for the missing crewmen.

The statement reads:

“We are deeply saddened by the news of the vessel capsizing and are working closely with the US Coast Guard and local authorities to support all efforts to locate our value team members and partners. We would like to thank the US Coast Guard and good Samaritan vessels for their immediate response as well as the brave individuals who have further supported our search and rescue efforts. And hearts and prayers go out to everyone involved.”


April 14, 11:00 a.m. Update:

Capt. Watson, commander Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, provided an update on the continued search for missing crewmembers from the capsized vessel, eight miles south of Port Fourchon.

In total, 19 crew members were aboard Seacor Power when it left port. Since its capsize, six crew members have been rescued alive. The body of one crew member was rescued, and declared deceased on the scene.

As of 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 14, the Coast Guard, among other rescue groups, are still searching for 12 crew members.

Capt. Watson says at this time, the vessel is not drifting. Although it is in 55 feet of water, it is believed to be grounded, allowing the search area to remain the same.

According to Capt. Watson, when the distress signal was received, there were 7-9 foot seas and 80-90 MPH winds.

The vessel was heading to Main Pass, though Capt. Watson says their mission is unknown, and there will be an investigation into that.

Currently, multiple organizations are involved in the search, which is taking place during severe weather. At this time, there are 8-10 foot seas and 20-30 MPH winds.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.


April 14, 9:00 a.m. Update:

A source with the port system in Port Fourchon told WGNO that six people were rescued, however, three people had to be left behind, clinging to the partially sunken vessel because weather and water conditions were too rough to retrieve them.

Lafourche Parish-President Archie Chaisson, our source at the port, and the Lafourche Sheriff’s Office have all confirmed that there is a conflict in reports of how many crew were members were on board.

According to the company’s internal manifests, one report says 18 crew members on board, while the other says 19. At this point, there are still 12 to 13 crew members unaccounted for.

A staging area was available to the crew members’ families overnight at the Port Fourchon Fire Station, in Golden Meadow.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris, a pre-commissioned 154-foot Fast Reponse Cutter, pulls a person from the water April 13, 2021 after a 175-foot commercial lift boat capsized 8 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana. The Coast Guard and multiple good Samaritan vessels responded to the capsized vessel and searched for multiple missing people in the water. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris)

On Wednesday morning, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards took to social media asking for prayers for the missing boaters, as well as those working to rescue them.


April 14, 3:00 a.m. Update:

WGNO spoke to Marion, the fiancé of Chaz Morales, a Crane Operator on the Seacor Power.

Marion was called regarding her fiancé, Chaz, when the Seacor Power went under. All she was told on the call was that “there’s been an incident.” She didn’t know until several hours later that the boat capsized.

Marion was dispatched to Our Lady of the Sea hospital, where the first rescued person was confirmed to be. That rescued person was not her fiancé, and Marion says officials wouldn’t let her speak to the rescued person.

Marion then headed to Port Fourchon but on the way, she saw three ambulances leaving and followed them to St. Anne’s Hospital in Raceland. She says once at the hospital, the three ambulances split up. Marion followed two of them, but both were empty. A WGNO Reporter says the third ambulance had a second rescued person, who was also not Marion’s fiancé.


April 13, Midnight Update:

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for several people after a commercial lift boat capsized during a severe storm off the coast of South Louisiana.

So far, six out of 18 crew members have been rescued.

Tuesday, the USCG Heartland Twitter account said that the vessel is a 265-foot commercial lift boat, however USCG Public Affairs in New Orleans told WGNO the it is a 175-foot lift boat eight miles south of Grand Isle. The latest report corrects the length of the vessel to 129 feet.

Several ‘Good Samaritan’ vessels in the vicinity immediately responded to a rescue beacon signaled at 4:30 p.m. and have joined rescue and salvage attempts as six of the 18 crew on board have been recovered.

A National Weather Service station located three miles northeast of Grand Isle recorded a wind gust of 75 mph during the height of the storm.

The Coast Guard from Houston is also assisting in rescue efforts, including the provision of a search plane.

Upon hearing of the devastation, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) tweeted his concern and support.

“Praying for everyone around Grand Isle and all the communities in South Louisiana,” Sen. Kennedy tweeted. “You can report marine distress to the Coast Guard at 504-365-2209.”

“Please stay safe in the storm.”

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