CUT OFF, La. (AP) — U.S. Coast Guard says the search for crew members who disappeared when a lift boat capsized off Louisiana will be suspended at sunset Monday. Capt. Will Watson, commander of the Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, said at a press conference that authorities do not expect to find more survivors from the vessel.
The grim news comes after days of searching for the missing workers from the oil industry lift boat Seacor Power, which capsized Tuesday during a fierce storm in the Gulf of Mexico south of Port Fourchon. Six of the 19 workers on the boat were rescued within hours of the wreck; five more bodies were found in the water. Eight remain missing.
Watson said officials had just come from briefing the families on the news and that it was an emotional scene with hugging and a lot of tears.
The president of the Seacor Marine, which owns the boat, said during the news conference that divers from a company they have contracted with will continue to search the entire vessel.
“We are steadfast in our efforts to return those who remain missing,” said John Gellert, president, Seacor Marine.
Families who have been waiting for days for any news of their loved ones were already preparing for the worst earlier Monday. Arlana Saddler, the youngest sister of missing worker Gregory Walcott, told the AP earlier that she was trying to be realistic about her brother’s chances of survival.
“I’m being real. This is the seventh day, and even if they made it through the boat turning over and all that, there’s no food, no water. You’re talking seven days,” she said.