Households await information of lacking employees on a capsized ship – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana climate
PORT FOURCHON, La. (AP) – Concerned family members waited Friday to hear the fate of eleven workers who were still missing after a lift boat capsized off Louisiana earlier this week while the Coast Guard confirmed it was a second body from the waters of the Gulf had moved from Mexico.
Rescuers in the air and at sea have been searching for the 19 workers aboard the ship designed to assist offshore oil platforms when it overturned about eight miles south of the Louisiana coast in inclement weather on Tuesday.
“Right now we are hoping for a miracle,” said Steven Walcott, the brother of missing worker Gregory Walcott.
Six people were rescued on Tuesday shortly after the ship capsized, and another body was rescued from the water on Wednesday. The second body was found in the water near the partially submerged Seacor Power lift boat on Thursday evening, according to a Coast Guard press release. The boat has three legs that are designed to extend to the sea floor and raise the ship so that it can serve as a platform for nearby oil rigs.
The hope is that those still missing found air pockets in order to survive in the ship. But authorities have not reported any contact with anyone on the ship since Tuesday. On Thursday seekers knocked on the hull without answering.
Meanwhile, feelings of shock and worry turned into frustration and anger for families of the missing.
“It just goes on and on,” said Frank Boeckl, whose nephew Larry Warren is among the missing workers. “They need more divers in this water, and every family feels that way. It’s not just me “
According to Boeckl, Warren is an engineer who was supposed to work the night shift on Tuesday. Family members therefore believe that he may have been sleeping in the apartment building when the boat overturned.
Time is of the essence because air pockets will eventually run out of oxygen, said Mauritius Bell, diving safety officer at the California Academy of Sciences: “At some point it will no longer be able to survive.”
Divers entered the water on Friday but had to resurface in the morning as the weather became too dangerous to continue, the Coast Guard said in a press release. They resumed diving on Friday afternoon.
The large residential structure above the deck of the lift boat is likely to present significant challenges for the divers, said naval architect David Bourg.
“Imagine you take a four-story building with multiple rooms, turn it upside down, put it in the water and try to navigate it with a flashlight – that’s what you see here,” said Bourg, Associate Professor at the School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of New Orleans.
Two of the missing workers communicated by radio with rescue workers on Tuesday after the awkward platform ship overturned in a hurricane-force wind that day. They were seen clinging to the overturned hull but returned for protection after a third man fell into the water and was lost.
Lafourche parish coroner John King identified the second elevator boat worker who was found dead as 69-year-old Ernest Williams of Arnaudville, according to The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate. The other person found dead was David Ledet, a 63-year-old captain from Thibodaux.
Relatives of the missing have gathered in Port Fourchon, a sprawling base for much of the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico. At the port, which is busy with cranes, cargo, and heavy equipment, workers from all over Louisiana and beyond load up a fleet of helicopters and ships to take them to the rigs for long hours.
Some relatives expressed frustration at why the boat was out at sea in such rough weather. Walcott, who has also worked on lift boats, said the boats were not designed for travel in inclement weather.
“It’s nerve-wracking” for relatives waiting for news, said Chett Chiasson, manager of the Lafourche Township Port, where workers’ families gathered on Friday to announce rescue operations.
“Obviously there is some frustrations out there who don’t know about their loved one and don’t hear from their loved one,” he said. At the same time he said: “There is still hope.”
People have provided food and other items like gas cards so relatives of the missing people can come home, he said.
Martin was from Woodstock, Georgia. Associate press reporters Janet McConnaughey and Rebecca Santana contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show that the second body was found on Thursday evening rather than Friday.