Commercial Boat Capsizes South Of Louisiana; 6 Rescued

By Jaclyn Diaz NPR
Updated April 14, 2021 at 12:22 AM ET

The U.S. Coast Guard and multiple good Samaritan vessels rescued six people from a capsized commercial lift boat 8 miles south of Port Fourchon, La., in the Gulf of Mexico.

Efforts to rescue other possible crewmembers of the 129-foot vessel were ongoing as of 10 p.m. local time, the Coast Guard said in a press release.

Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Jonathan Lally told NPR earlier that when initial distress calls were made, there were conflicting reports that additional vessels might also be in trouble.

The initial distress call came in at 4:30 p.m. local time. That triggered an Urgent Marine Information broadcast, which launched the emergency rescue effort.

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Glenn Harris arrived within 30 minutes of the call and was able to rescue one person from the capsized vessel.

A separate crew from the Coast Guard Station Grand Isle rescued a second person. Other good Samaritan vessels — often the first to arrive on scene — rescued another four people from the water.

The Coast Guard corrected itself late Tuesday night, saying officials had earlier incorrectly referred to the size of the commercial lift boat and where it had capsized.

It is unclear how many people were on the boat at the time, Lally told NPR, and said that the Coast Guard is still searching the water.

“We’re still trying to get the actual number of people who were on the boat,” Lally said.

He explained a “microburst of severe weather” may have caused the craft to flip.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for all of southeastern Louisiana from noon on Tuesday through Thursday due to the potential for heavy rainfall.

“Do not enter or cross flowing water or water of unknown depth,” the service said.

The NWS also issued a wind advisory, cautioning residents to prepare for gusts up to 45 mph from Tuesday through 3 a.m. on Wednesday.

“Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result,” the agency said.

This is a developing story. Some things reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

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