GRAND ISLE, La. (AP) — Six people were pulled alive from the Gulf of Mexico after a commercial platform vessel capsized during a “microburst” of bad weather off the coast of Louisiana, the Coast Guard said Wednesday as a search continued for more survivors.
The U.S. Coast Guard Heartland said in a statement at around 8 p.m. that it and several other vessels responded to an area of the Gulf of Mexico south of Grand Isle after the 129-foot (39-meter) Seacor Power overturned. A search plane also flew in to assist.
“There was a microburst of weather that came through the area at the time of the incident,” Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally said. “I don’t know whether that was the cause, but what we can say is that inclement weather did hit the area at the time.”
A search by air and sea was ongoing Wednesday, he said.
The Advocate reported that Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson III confirmed that 18 people were on board before the Seacor Power took on water in rough seas.
The Seacor Power is a commercial lift vessel, designed to become an offshore platform by dropping three towering legs down to the sea floor. Hit by the storm, it flipped over, with one of the legs pointed awkwardly skyward as rescuers searched for the workers in rough seas.
New Orleans and areas off Louisiana’s shore were being hit by an unexpectedly strong storm that overturned vessels and damaged property, particularly in coastal towns. The Coast Guard warned in a Facebook post that the storms caused “significant hazards to life and property.”