Several missing after commercial ship capsizes off Louisiana

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Six people were rescued after a 175-foot lift boat capsized eight miles outside of Grand Isle, La., On Tuesday afternoon, a Coast Guard spokesman said. The rescue efforts continued into the night.

StatueVideo footage of a boat's bow during the severe storm that caused a 175-foot lift boat to capsize near Grand Isle, La.

Six people were rescued and several others went missing after a commercial boat capsized about 8 miles off the coast of Louisiana in a storm on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

The episode took place around 4:30 p.m., eight miles from Grand Isle, La., In the Gulf of Mexico and involved a 175-foot commercial lift boat, a Coast Guard spokesman said in an interview.

“We are still looking for more people,” said spokesman, Petty Officer Jonathan Lally of the Coast Guard’s 8th District, in an interview Tuesday night. Officials said they did not know how many people were on board. Information about the owner of the boat was also unavailable. Grand Isle is located on a barrier island about 100 miles south of New Orleans.

The situation prompted a large-scale rescue operation, with civilian captains assisting the Coast Guard in a search that continued late Tuesday night. The Coast Guard said it deployed two cutters, two smaller boats, a helicopter and a plane as part of the effort.

On Tuesday, severe weather hit the state, with gusts of wind 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 flood flash watch for much of the Louisiana coast.

StatueA jack-up boat, serving as a work platform, to assemble a wind turbine at Block Island, RI in 2016.
Credit…Michael Dwyer / Associated Press

“I have NEVER heard so many MAYDAY phone calls in my life!” Wrote one man, Bruce J. Simon, in a Facebook post that has been shared over 3,000 times. ‘Waves are breaking over the bow! A lift boat has turned around. “

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

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

A jack-up boat is a self-propelled work vessel with a wide open deck commonly found along the Gulf Coast. They support drilling, construction and ocean exploration and can operate in shallow or deep water depending on their self-enhancing capabilities. They can use legs and jacking systems.

Lew Serviss contributed to the reporting.