UPDATE: Franklin Man’s Body Pulled from Seacor Power
The body of another crew member on the capsized Seacor Power lift boat has been recovered.
The Lafourche Parish Coroner's Office confirmed to the Advocate/Times-Picayune that Quinon Pitre's body was found in the Gulf of Mexico and pulled from the water. Pitre is the sixth crew member whose body has been recovered. Lafourche Parish coroner Dr. John King said Pitre's cause of death is unknown at this time.
According to social media posts, Pitre is survived by two young daughters.
Seven more crew members remain missing after the Seacor Power capsized in rough seas and tropical storm-force winds last week. The Coast Guard's search is suspended, but Seacor's own dive teams continue the search-and-rescue mission.
UPDATE, 4/19/21, 12 a.m.: The Coast Guard has recovered the body of a fifth crew member at the site of the Seacor Power. That's according to a crew member's relative who is documenting each Coast Guard update on her Facebook page.
UPDATE, 4/17/21, 4:30 p. m.: The owner of the platform that commissioned Seacor Power to work at one of its Gulf of Mexico platforms says it’s not responsible for the disaster.
Instead, they say the Seacor Power’s owner made the decision to send the lift boat on its fateful journey.
According to a statement from Talos Energy obtained by the Advocate/Times-Picayune, Talos says Seacor Marine was in command of the boat and made the call for the boat and its crew to leave Port Fourchon for the Talos platform near the Mississippi River’s mouth. That decision came despite National Weather Service warnings about rough seas and tropical storm-force winds.
Three hours after it left port, the Seacor power capsized.
The Coast Guard and other agencies continue to search for the remaining crew members who are missing.
UPDATE, 4/16/21, 10 p.m.: The Lafourche Parish Coroner's Office has identified the two crew members whose bodies were found Friday inside the capsized Seacor Power lift boat.
According to the Advocate/Times-Picayune, Lafourche Parish Coroner Dr. John King has identified the men as Anthony Hartford, 53, of New Orleans, and James Wallingsford, 55, of Gilbert. King says his office is still investigating the cause of death.
Earlier this week, two other bodies were pulled from the lift boat. David Ledet, 63, was the captain of the boat. His body was recovered on Wednesday. Funeral services for the 63-year-old Thibodaux resident are set for next Wednesday (April 21). The second crew member whose body was found is Ernest Williams, 69, of Arnaudville. King says his body was found Thursday night near Cocodrie. Funeral arrangements for Williams are pending.
UPDATE: Two more crewmembers from Seacor Power were found unresponsive by divers hired by the company.
(AP) — Divers searching the site of a capsized lift boat off Louisiana recovered two more unresponsive crewmembers late Friday, the Coast Guard said after another day of frantic waiting by family members worried for the fate of those who went missing earlier this week.
Petty Officer Jonathan Lally, a Coast Guard spokesman, declined to elaborate on the recovery operation and referred all questions from The Associated Press to a local coroner.
A Coast Guard statement said commercial divers on the capsized Seacor Power lift boat found the crewmembers. But the Coast Guard said it was not releasing the names of any of those rescued, recovered or still missing out of respect for the privacy of their families.
“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family, friends and loved ones of everyone involved in this tragic incident,” said Capt. Will Watson, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. “We are using every asset available to us to continue our search efforts.”
Rescuers in the air and the sea have been searching for the 19 workers who were aboard the vessel, which is designed to support offshore oil rigs, when it overturned Tuesday in rough weather about 8 miles (13 kilometers) south of the Louisiana coast. Nine remain missing.
“Right now, we’re hoping for a miracle,” said Steven Walcott, brother of missing worker Gregory Walcott.
Six people were rescued Tuesday shortly after the vessel capsized, and one body was recovered from the water Wednesday. A second body was found Thursday night, according to a Coast Guard news release.
The boat has three legs designed to extend to the sea floor and raise the ship so it can serve as a platform for nearby rigs.
The hope of loved ones is that those still missing have found air pockets to survive inside the ship. But authorities haven't reported any contact with anyone inside the ship since Tuesday. On Thursday, searchers knocked on the ship’s hull without response.
Meanwhile, feelings of shock and worry were turning to frustration and anger for families of the missing.
“It just keeps going on and on,” said Frank Boeckl, whose nephew, Larry Warren, is among the workers still missing. “They need more divers in that water, and every family feels this way. It’s not just me.”
Time is of the essence because any air pockets will eventually become depleted of oxygen, said Mauritius Bell, diving safety officer at the California Academy of Sciences: “At some point, it’s not survivable.”
Divers had gone into the water Friday but came back up at mid-morning as the weather became too dangerous to continue, the Coast Guard said in a news release. They then resumed diving Friday afternoon.
Two of the missing workers had been communicating with rescuers by two-way radio Tuesday after the ungainly platform ship flipped over in hurricane-force winds that day. They were spotted clinging to the overturned hull but returned to seek shelter inside after a third man fell into the water and was lost.
Lafourche Parish Coroner John King identified the second lift boat worker 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 at Port Fourchon, a sprawling base for much of the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The port, busy with cranes, cargo and heavy equipment, is where workers from across Louisiana and beyond load up on a fleet of helicopters and ships that take them to the rigs for long stretches of work.
Some relatives have expressed frustration about why the boat was out at sea in such rough weather. Walcott, who has also worked on lift boats, said the boats are not designed for travel in rough weather.
“It’s nerve-wracking” for relatives waiting for news, said Chett Chiasson, executive director of the Lafourche Parish port, where families of the workers gathered Friday for a briefing on rescue efforts.
“Obviously there’s some frustration there, not knowing about their loved one and not hearing from their loved one,” he said. At the same time, he said: “There’s still some hope there.”
People have been providing food and other things such as gas cards so relatives of the missing can get home, he said.
(Associated Press reporters Janet McConnaughey and Rebecca Santana contributed to this report, along with Jeff Martin, Stacey Plaisance, and Kevin McGill)
According to authorities, the Coast Guard has recovered a person in the water near the Seacor Power that capsized earlier in the week. Divers have been making rescue efforts at the vessel in recent days.
UPDATE: Reports from @NOLAnews show that the person recovered on Thursday evening was Ernest Williams of Arnaudville, LA. More details below.
See the update from @USCGHeartland on Twitter below.
According to the above post, the person that was recovered near the ship was unresponsive. No identity has been released as of this time.
The person was transported to Coast Guard Station Grand Isle where a coroner pronounced the man dead.
The update prior to this announcement from the Coast Guard was that thermal imaging was showing possible survivors at the Seacor Power. Divers have been close to the ship and were able to knock on the hull, but were unable to pull anyone out of the vessel.