Updated May 20, 2021 at 11 a.m. ET: Rescue teams later found another SEACOR Power crew member dead, bringing the death toll to six. Seven have never been found.
The Coast Guard announced Monday it was ending the search for eight crew members still missing from the SEACOR Power.
“We’ve had to make the difficult decision to suspend the search-and-rescue efforts at sunset today,” Capt. Will Watson, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, said during a media briefing.
The lift boat capsized last Tuesday 8 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.
“Of the 19 passengers and crew, six have been rescued and brought safely to shore. Five unfortunately have been recovered deceased and eight persons remain missing,” Watson said.
FreightWaves reported last week that the Coast Guard said the SEACOR Power encountered wind gusts of 80 to 90 mph, seas of 7 to 9 feet and very low visibility while en route to Grand Pass, Louisiana.
John Gellert, the president and CEO of Seacor Marine, said Monday that “the go/no-go is the captain’s. The captain has full control of the vessel.”
USA Today reported the SEACOR Power’s captain, David Ledet, was among those killed in the accident. While not naming him, Gellert said during the press conference Monday that the captain had 50 years of maritime experience, nearly all of it on lift boats.
“He was one of our best captains and very prudent and conservative. We are very confident that he would not have gone out if he had any doubt whatsoever,” Gellert said.
Gellert said the Seacor Marine lift boat was contracted to Tallus Energy to conduct oilwell work.
Crews searched for a cumulative 175 hours and covered more than 9,250 square nautical miles, according to Watson, who said four Coast Guard cutters, three response boats, six fixed-wing aircraft and three helicopters were used in the search.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s Drew Ehlers is in charge of the investigation, which he said could “take anywhere from 12 to 24 months.”