Several Missing After Commercial Vessel Capsizes Off Louisiana Coast

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Six people were rescued after a 129-foot lift boat capsized eight miles off Port Fourchon, La., on Tuesday afternoon, the Coast Guard said. Rescue efforts continued into the night.

ImageVideo still from the bow of a boat during the severe storm that caused a 129-foot lift boat to capsize near Grand Isle, La.

Six people were rescued and several others were missing after a commercial boat capsized about eight miles off the coast of Louisiana in a storm on Tuesday afternoon, the authorities said.

The episode happened around 4:30 p.m. off Port Fourchon, La. in the Gulf of Mexico and involved a 129-foot commercial lift boat, according to the Coast Guard.

“We’re still searching for more people,” Petty Officer Jonathan Lally, a spokesman for the Coast Guard 8th District, said in an interview on Tuesday night. Officials said they did not know how many people were aboard the vessel. Information on the boat’s owner was also not available.

The situation drew a large-scale rescue effort, with civilian boaters helping the Coast Guard with a search that continued late Tuesday night. The Coast Guard said it had deployed two cutters, two smaller boats, a helicopter and an airplane as part of the effort. Earlier, it said that the vessel had capsized off Grand Isle, La., which is about 18 miles northeast of Port Fourchon and about 100 miles south of New Orleans.

Severe weather pounded the state on Tuesday, bringing wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour and an average of three to five inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a flash flood watch for much of the Louisiana coast.

ImageA lift boat, serving as a work platform, to assemble a wind turbine, off Block Island, R.I., in 2016.
Credit…Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

“Ive NEVER Heard soo many MAYDAY calls in my life!,” one man, Bruce J. Simon, wrote in a Facebook post that has been shared more than 3,000 times. “Waves are breaking over the bow! A liftboat flipped.”

He also said “other boats have flipped” and urged people to “pray for the Lost!” Later, Mr. Simon posted two brief videos of a rain-soaked window looking at the bow of a boat as a wave crashed over it.

A message sent to Mr. Simon through Facebook was not immediately returned.

A lift boat is a self-propelled work vessel with a broad open deck commonly found along the Gulf Coast. They support drilling, construction and oceanic exploration and can work in shallow or deepwater settings, depending on their self-elevating capabilities. They can employ legs and jacking systems.

Lew Serviss contributed reporting.

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