The 12 people missing after a commercial platform vessel overturned in waters off us-regions had still not been located as of Thursday morning, the military told Fox News, as family members held out hope that their loved ones were alive.
The developments came as new footage emerged of waves thrashing against the Seacor Power following its capsizing Tuesday afternoon in rough seas about 7 nautical miles off the coast of Port Fourchon. The ship encountered challenging weather in which winds were gusting as high as 90 miles per hour and seas were 7 to 9 feet high, according to Will Watson, the sector commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.
“Whenever we engage – the Coast Guard engages in a search and rescue effort – we are hopeful,” Watson said Wednesday when asked for his outlook on the search for those missing. “You can’t do this work if you are not optimistic, if you are not hopeful when you do it. So I will tell you that we remain hopeful.”
Coast Guard members scan the water Tuesday while searching for those missing after the Seacor Power, a 129-foot-ship, overturned near Louisiana. (AP/U.S. Coast Guard)
LOUISIANA COAST GUARD SEARCH: 1 FOUND DEAD, 12 MISSING AFTER VESSEL CAPSIZES
There were 19 people on board the vessel, six of whom have been rescued and brought to safety, according to Watson. Search and rescue crews at the ship’s current site found one person deceased “on the surface of the water” on Wednesday, he added.
A Coast Guard spokesperson, in an email to Fox News Thursday morning, said there were “no updates” overnight and the “search continues for 12 missing persons.”
Coast Guard divers planned to reach the vessel Thursday, The Associated Press reported. But Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally told the news agency that officials want to make sure the divers won’t need rescuing themselves when they enter the depths of the ship.
“With something like this, that is a vessel that is capsized with the potential of people trapped inside, there are a lot of dynamic aspects we have to look at,” he said.
Coast Guard members pull a person from the water Tuesday after the Seacor Power capsized. (AP/US Coast Guard)
The AP reported that authorities were also using all-terrain vehicles to search the shoreline near Port Fourchon — but that effort was paused Thursday as storms were moving in.
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Family members of those missing, meanwhile, were not giving up hope that their loved ones were alive.
Among those the Coast Guard is looking for is Chaz Morales, a crane operator and father of three.
“He said that they were jacking down and they were about to head out, and I’m like, ‘The weather’s too bad. You need to come home.’ And he’s like, ‘I wish I could,’” Marion Cuyler, his fiancée, told The Associated Press on Wednesday while recalling the conversation she had with Morales the day before.
Darra Morales, right, shows a photo of her son Chaz Morales and his family on her phone, as Chaz Jr., 10, comforts his grandmother at their home in Slidell, La., on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (AP/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate)
She had joined the families of other missing workers at a fire station in Port Fourchon where helicopters were landing and departing, The Associated Press added.
“Please let him be one of the ones … please let him, get him out,” Morales’ mother, Darra, told NBC News, describing her son as an “unreal” father who “loves his babies”.
Maddy Boteler, Morales’ 17-year-old niece, told NOLA.com that she hoped he was alive in an air pocket inside the ship.
“We’re hoping for air pockets,” she said. “We’re hoping for everything.”
Gregory Walcott, a 62-year-old who worked in the ship’s kitchen, also was among those missing, according to CBS News.
“What’s affecting us the most is that we are not hearing anything. It’s just dreadful, just sitting there waiting for the phone to ring,” his niece told the station. “So we are trying to just stand in fate and that we are going to get the phone call soon that he is found safe and he is alive.”
The Seacor Power overturned Tuesday when it encountered challenging weather in which winds were gusting as high as 90 miles per hour and seas were 7 to 9 feet high, according to Will Watson, the sector commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. (U.S. Coast Guard)
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Others took to Facebook, asking for prayers that their loved ones would be found safe.
“My uncle is still unaccounted for,” Lauren Vaccaro, who identified Quinon Pitre as being on board the vessel, posted on Facebook on Wednesday.
“I pray that you are clinging to that vessel with every ounce of strength you can find until they are able to get to you. You are tough and resilient and a fighter,” she wrote. “We love you and are praying so hard for good news and you and the other crew members safe return.”
In another post, Nicole Daspit Latiolais wrote “prayer warriors, please pray for the safety of my nephew/Godchild, Dylan.
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“He was on the boat that capsized yesterday. We still do not know anything,” she wrote Wednesday. “We are worried sick!”
Seacor Marine, in a statement, said “we are deeply saddened by the news of the vessel capsizing and are working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities to support all efforts to locate our valued team members and partners.”