Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Rescuers search rough seas for 12 people after sudden 'microburst' storm capsized their liftboat that ferries supplies to drilling platforms off coast of Louisiana

 Rescue teams are searching for 12 missing people after a sudden 'microburst' storm with up to 112mph winds capsized a boat off the coast of Louisiana Tuesday.    

Six crew members have already been rescued by Good Samaritans and the Coast Guard after the 129 foot Seacor Power took on water during the bad weather.

The U.S. Coast Guard had tweeted Tuesday evening to say it was assisting in the search for survivors.  USCG Petty Officer Jonathan Lally later told Fox8 six people had so far been rescued; two by the coast guard and four by Good Samaritans.

It is believed 18 people were on board on the boat and rescue teams are continuing to search for the 12 missing. Earlier reports said 'multiple people' were in the water.

A 'microburst' storm may have hit the lift boat causing it to sink, coast guard spokesman Lally said.  He later added: 'As of now, we are trying to find out how many people are missing but we are still continuing to search.' 

Lift boats are used to service offshore drilling platforms, playing an important role in the oil and gas industry.

Bruce Simon said in a Facebook post Tuesday evening that he was out on the water. 

He wrote: 'I'm on the boat and we doing 4 knots keeping the bow in the wind. Waves are breaking over the bow. Please pray for the lost.' 

Rescuers are searching for 12 missing people after sudden 'microburst' storm with up to 112mph winds capsized their boat off the coast of Louisiana Tuesday, pictured

Rescuers are searching for 12 missing people after sudden 'microburst' storm with up to 112mph winds capsized their boat off the coast of Louisiana Tuesday, pictured

USCG Petty Officer Jonathan Lally later told Fox8 six people had so far been rescued, pictured; two by the coast guard and four by Good Samaritans

USCG Petty Officer Jonathan Lally later told Fox8 six people had so far been rescued, pictured; two by the coast guard and four by Good Samaritans

Lift boats are used to service offshore drilling platforms. The Seacor Power was built in 2002 and carries almost 40,500 gallons of fuel oil. It is an offshore construction jack-up

Lift boats are used to service offshore drilling platforms. The Seacor Power was built in 2002 and carries almost 40,500 gallons of fuel oil. It is an offshore construction jack-up

A large boat capsized off the coast of Louisiana Tuesday leaving 'multiple people' in the water, according to reports.
Bruce Simon said he was out on the water and took these pictures of the bad weather

A large boat capsized off the coast of Louisiana Tuesday leaving 'multiple people' in the water, according to reports. Bruce Simon said he was out on the water and took these pictures 

Simon wrote: 'I¿m on the boat and we doing 4 knots keeping the bow in the wind. Waves are breaking over the bow. Please pray for the lost'

Simon wrote: 'I'm on the boat and we doing 4 knots keeping the bow in the wind. Waves are breaking over the bow. Please pray for the lost'


Lally added: 'We don't have good clarification of exactly how many people we are still searching for and we don't know the exact cause of the incident but we do know at the time of the report and incident there was inclement weather in the area but the focus is to find the missing people.'

'The Coast Guard and Good Samaritan vessel has actually been able to rescue 6 people so far, we've had pre-commissioned Coast Guard cutter Glen Harris rescue one person, one of our station Grand Isle boats rescued another and four other people were rescued by Good Samaritan vessels.'

According to the National Weather Service, microbursts happen when a thunderstorm begins to suspend water droplets and hail in its updraft. 

Sometimes, if the updraft is strong enough, large amounts of precipitation get caught in the upper portion of the storm.

As the draft dissipates and the storm shifts, however, the droplets and hail are released, unleashing a deluge of rain and ice particles onto the ground. 

In some cases, these types of storms can lead to extreme damage on the areas in which they fall.   

The Coast Guard had said Tuesday a search plane was flying in to assist the rescue effort.

The agency had also warned in a Facebook post that there were 'significant hazards to life and property' following flooding and storms that passed through the area earlier Tuesday, causing damage in New Orleans and surrounding communities. 

Following news of the storm Tuesday, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy tweeted: 'Praying for everyone around Grand Isle and all the communities in South Louisiana.

'You can report marine distress to the Coast Guard at 504 365 2209. Please stay safe in the storm.' 


Officials say the boat is a 129ft commercial lift vessel; the incident happened around eight miles south of Grand Isle, pictured

Officials say the boat is a 129ft commercial lift vessel; the incident happened around eight miles south of Grand Isle, pictured 

Senator John Kennedy tweeted Tuesday: 'Praying for everyone around Grand Isle and all the communities in South Louisiana. Please stay safe in the storm'

Senator John Kennedy tweeted Tuesday: 'Praying for everyone around Grand Isle and all the communities in South Louisiana. Please stay safe in the storm'

On top of powerful precipitation, microburst storms can also unleash winds up to 100 mph which is why the National Weather Service says the storm should be taken as seriously as tornado warnings. 

Microbursts are typically generated by the confluence of several weather conditions including strong winds and dry air mixing and high precipitable water.

They also often occur in hot and humid summer months.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Ricky Templet said: 'We expected some winds and possible rains, but nothing as extensive as what took place on the coastal areas of Jefferson Parish.' 

On top of powerful precipitation, microburst storms, like the one pictured here Tuesday, can also unleash winds up to 100 mph which is why the National Weather Service says the storm should be taken as seriously as tornado warnings

On top of powerful precipitation, microburst storms, like the one pictured here Tuesday, can also unleash winds up to 100 mph which is why the National Weather Service says the storm should be taken as seriously as tornado warnings

It is understood a 'microburst' storm hit the vessel with winds of up to 112mph

It is understood a 'microburst' storm hit the vessel with winds of up to 112mph

Microbursts are typically generated by the confluence of several weather conditions including strong winds and dry air mixing and high precipitable water. Tuesday's water levels pictured

Microbursts are typically generated by the confluence of several weather conditions including strong winds and dry air mixing and high precipitable water. Tuesday's water levels pictured

Adding to their potential danger, the furious storms are often difficult to predict as they form quickly and can be very fleeting, often lasting between five and 10 minutes.

'Unfortunately, Severe Thunderstorm Warning lead times for microbursts can be very short, or there may be no warning at all,' says the National Weather Service. 

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