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2nd Seacor Power crew member found dead identified as Lafayette-area man

Posted by Dennis Danos | Apr 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

  • PUBLISHED APR 16, 2021 AT 3:16 PM | UPDATED APR 16, 2021 AT 4:37 PM

    The second crew member of the capsized Seacor Power lift boat who was found dead was 69-year-old Ernest Williams of Arnaudville, Louisiana, according to the Lafourche Parish coroner.

    Williams' exact cause of death remains under investigation, said the coroner, Dr. John King, who has jurisdiction of the case because the Seacor Power capsized off the coast of Lafourche.

    King said that crews recovered Williams' body on Thursday night in the vicinity of Cocodrie, which is west of where the ill-fated lift boat overturned.


    Williams was publicly identified a day after King released the name of another Seacor Power crew member who was found dead following the disaster: David Ledet, a 63-year-old captain from Thibodaux.

    Six crew members were rescued in the hours after the capsizing, and 11 remain missing. Rescuers were clinging to hope Friday that some of the missing may be alive in air pockets aboard the crippled vessel.

    The Seacor Power capsized about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday en route to Main Pass 138, which is in the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles east of Venice, Louisiana.

    The weather was relatively clear when the jack up boat left three hours earlier, but about 2:30 p.m., forecasters warned that there would be tropical-storm caliber winds and potentially deadly waves in the area where the crew was headed.

    Those winds quickly became much stronger than forecast, reaching hurricane strength. The Seacor Power took on water, turned over on its starboard side and became mostly submerged, setting off a frantic rescue effort in its fourth day Friday.

    In a dramatic scene late on Tuesday night, Coast Guard rescuers found five crew members on the Seacor Power's hull. Two jumped off the hull and were saved, and two others who were provided with life jackets and radios went back into the ship as stormy conditions complicated rescue efforts.

    One of those five fell into the water and wasn't seen again. Without naming Williams, a Coast Guard official said an agency helicopter team found the Lafayette-area native relatively "near" the Seacor Power's wreckage on Thursday night. A Coast Guard boat picked up the man and brought him to an agency station in Grand Isle, where he was pronounced dead.  

    On Friday, a relative of a missing crew member told a reporter that Coast Guard officials had told missing crew member's families that a second dead man was found about 30 miles from the scene of the capsizing. While the Coast Guard wouldn't confirm that, a spokesman said 30 miles would qualify as "near" in terms of the Gulf.

    Rescuers last heard from the pair on the hull on Tuesday night. But they are the reason that the Coast Guard hopes there may still be survivors aboard the Seacor Power.

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