At 4 on Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service in New Orleans broadcast a marine warning, predicting steep waves and winds above 58 mph in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico nearby.
At 4:30, the crew of the Seacore Power, a 129-foot commercial lift boat, sent out an emergency distress call. It had capsized eight miles off Port Flouchon, the southernmost port in Louisiana. An odd-looking vessel, the Seacore Power has extendable 250-foot legs that can reach the sea floor; it is used by energy companies for offshore construction projects or to service oil rigs.
When the Coast Guard heard the distress call, it launched four of its own vessels, a helicopter, and planes from as far as Corpus Christi, Texas, and Mobile, Alabama. The Coast Guard picture above shows one of its 45-foot response boats heading toward the overturned Seacore Power.
As it happened, four private boats in the area saved four crewmen. Coast Guard boats rescued two more. One person was found deceased in the water.
As the week wore on, rescue crews were searching for 12 crew still missing. The Coast Guard said some could still be caught inside the Seacore Power.
The problem all started with the sudden storm. “There was a microburst of weather that came through the area at the time,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally. Read more: