Twelve people are said to have been lost at sea after a ship capsized in so-called “microburst” winds off the coast of Louisiana.
US Coast Guard officials helped locate survivors Tuesday afternoon with reports of “multiple people in the water” from at least one ship, Fox 8 reported. Others are also helping with the search.
Six people were rescued from the water and 18 were believed to be aboard the ship, which capsized in storm winds south of Grand Isle, Louisiana, in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the Coast Guard, the ship is a 129-foot lift boat, the Seacor Power. Similar boats are used in the operation of offshore drilling sites.
It was believed to have been caught in winds of 120 km / h before capsizing. The US National Weather Service issued a “very strong wind” weather warning on Tuesday.
The storm was viewed as a “microburst” – a life-threatening weather event that, according to the National Weather Service, occurs when a thunderstorm hits cooler air. The eye of the storm then descends on the water service and causes damage.
Pictures and descriptions of the storm became widespread, and Louisiana-based Bruce J. Simon wrote on Facebook that he had “NEVER heard so many MAYDAY calls” in his life while aboard his own ship on Tuesday.
He added that waves “broke over the bow” and that other boats, including a lifeboat, capsized or ingested water and wrote, “Please pray for the lost.”
In a brief statement TwitterLouisiana Senator John Kennedy said he prayed “for everyone on the Grand Isle and for all the churches in southern Louisiana”.
A US Coast Guard spokesman saidThe New York Times on Tuesday evening that “we’re still looking for more people”.
Conditions for Wednesday will be similar to Tuesday, with severe weather and flash flood warnings reported to the region through Thursday morning Reuters.