One person has died, a dozen is missing and six others have been rescued after a commercial lift boat used to service oil rigs capsized in hurricane force winds south of Louisiana’s Port Fourchon, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Wednesday.
Rescuers in Coast Guard cutters, aircraft and volunteer civilian boats were hunting for the dozen missing people in the Gulf of Mexico after the 129-foot (39-m) commercial vessel, Seacor Power, capsized in rough seas eight miles (13 km) off Port Fouchon about 4:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) on Tuesday, officials said.
Searchers were “saturating the area,” said Coast Guard Captain Will Watson, who added that some people could still be trapped on the crippled vessel.
“We’re giving it everything we have,” he said.
“Unfortunately, one person was recovered deceased on the surface of the water,” he said, adding that the winds were about 80 miles per hour (129 km per hour) to 90 mph in 7- to 9-foot seas at the time of the accident.
Two people were rescued by the Coast Guard and four others were pulled from the water by other vessels, he said.
“My heart and the collective hearts of our team goes out to the families,” Watson said, adding that they were working to find other survivors.
High winds with some hail and flooding from a line of thunderstorms are expected to continue in southeaster Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service. A flash flood watch is in effect till Thursday morning.
A lift boat, also called a “jack barge,” has extendable 250-foot legs that can reach the sea bottom. The vessel is often used by energy companies for offshore construction projects or to service oil rigs.