The United States Coast Guard (USCG) initially launched search and rescue operations Tuesday afternoon, after a severe storm near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, caused the Seacor Power – a 129-foot (39.3-meter) commercial vessel – to capsize. A total of 19 crewmembers reportedly went missing during the incident.
USCG Capt. Will Watson confirmed on Wednesday morning that one of the 19 missing Seacor Power crewmembers was found dead, and another six individuals have been rescued since the service received an emergency distress signal at 4:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
The USCG and at least four ‘good Samaritan’ vessels are still searching for the remaining 12 crewmembers.
“We are hopeful. We can’t do this work if you’re not optimistic, if you’re not hopeful,” he said, as reported by the Associated Press.
Watson also revealed that winds picked up to around 80 mph to 90 mph (129 kph to 145 kph) and sea waters were 7 feet to 9 feet (2.1 meters to 2.7 meters) when the Seacor Power capsized.
“The crew of the pre-commissioned Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris, a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter, arrived on scene within 30 minutes and rescued one person from the capsized vessel,” the initial USCG release detailed.
“A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew [sic] from Coast Guard Station Grand Isle rescued another person and good Samaritan vessels on scene rescued four other people from the water.”
As of this article’s publication, the large commercial vessel remains on its side, approximately 8 miles south of Port Fourchon.
Archie Chaisson III, president of the Lafourche Parish, told reporters that the community is praying and hopes “we can bring the other 12 home alive.” He also warned that the region has “the potential for some rough weather around lunchtime,” which may impede the search.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a Wednesday morning tweet, requesting prayers for those who remain missing, as well as those assisting with search and rescue efforts.