Survivor of Capsized Louisiana Lift Boat Seacor Power Detail Escape

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The man, who was 1 of six survivors of the capsizing that killed 13 people, said astatine a Coast Guard proceeding that helium broke a model with a occurrence extinguisher and was swept into sea.

The capsized assistance   vessel  Seacor Power disconnected  the seashore  of Louisiana past  April.
Credit...Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Jesus Jiménez

Aug. 3, 2021, 8:51 a.m. ET

A antheral who survived the capsizing of a assistance vessel disconnected the seashore of Louisiana testified astatine a Coast Guard proceeding connected Monday that helium had to interruption a model with a occurrence extinguisher to flight the vas and that helium prayed to God arsenic helium drifted successful storm-driven seas for much than 3 hours.

The man, Dwayne Lewis, was 1 of six survivors from the lift boat, called the Seacor Power, that capsized during a tempest connected April 13, sidesplitting 13 people. A assistance vessel is simply a enactment vas with legs that tin jack up and crook the vessel into a level supra the water.

Mr. Lewis recalled his experience, opening with going to his compartment to instrumentality a nap, astatine a Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the episode.

“I laid down connected the blanket, dozed off, and the vessel rolled,” Mr. Lewis said. “When I felt it roll, I jumped up, and I grabbed my beingness jacket.”

As Mr. Lewis enactment his beingness overgarment on, the tv and the shelves successful his country fell astatine him disconnected the wall, helium said.

“I looked retired the window, and I could spot the deck, which I shouldn’t person been capable to spot the deck,” Mr. Lewis said. “But I saw the platform — it was sideways.”

As helium tried to escape, Mr. Lewis said, helium recalled his information orientation, wherever helium had learned that successful an emergency, a model would beryllium the mode out.

“I pushed connected that model arsenic hard arsenic I could,” Mr. Lewis said, “and it would ne'er budge.” Mr. Lewis said helium past utilized a steel-toed footwear to effort to interruption unfastened the window, and “nothing happened.” He was yet capable to interruption the model by utilizing a occurrence extinguisher.

As soon helium had breached the window, Mr. Lewis said, helium was sucked into the ocean, and started to interval away. He said helium tried to drawback a enactment from the vessel and drawback the attraction of different vessel adjacent to nary avail.

“I conscionable made myself into a ball,” Mr. Lewis said. “You’re getting bushed up, and past you’re conscionable begging God to delight calm the seas, delight calm the seas. Then you speech to your dormant mama, and you archer her you’re not acceptable to spot her.”

After drifting for 3 to 4 hours successful seas of 10 to 12 feet, with driving rainfall and lightning, Mr. Lewis was rescued by the unit of different vessel. Five much unit members were recovered successful the hours aft the capsizing.

In the pursuing days, the Coast Guard searched much than 9,268 quadrate nautical miles for much than 175 hours successful hopes of uncovering much survivors.

Image

Credit...Max Becherer/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, via Associated Press

Ted Duthu, who had captained a assistance vessel called the Rockfish, besides testified astatine Monday’s hearing.

The Seacor Power was disposable from the Rockfish that day, and determination were fewer signs of atrocious upwind earlier it capsized, Mr. Duthu said. Before the Seacor Power capsized, it had started to rain, helium said.

“That’s erstwhile each hellhole broke loose,” Mr. Duthu said, adding that winds had kicked up to 95 miles per hour, which are arsenic beardown arsenic a Category 1 hurricane.

Before the rainfall began, Mr. Duthu said, helium lowered the Rockfish’s legs to the oversea level and raised the ship, a determination that astir apt saved him and his crew.

“Fifteen minutes later, the Rockfish would person been laying connected its broadside adjacent to the Seacor Power,” Mr. Duthu said.

Another subsister is expected to attest astatine the proceeding successful Houma, La. Some clip aft the hearing, the Coast Guard is expected to stock a study astir the Seacor Power capsizing.

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