Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Crew Members of Capsized Ship Off Louisiana Coast

Gabrielle Chung
·3 min read

TWITTER

Almost a week after a commercial vessel capsized off the coast of Louisiana, the U.S. Coast Guard has made the decision to suspend its search for the ship's remaining missing crew members.

Out of the 19 passengers aboard the Seacor Power vessel, six have been rescued, five have been found dead, and eight remain missing, according to Captain Will Watson, the commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.

"We've had to make the difficult decision to suspend search and rescue efforts at sunset today," Watson announced during a press conference on Monday. "This does not mean the case is closed. At any time, we might receive new information that would compel us to resume the search. But with that said, our focus will begin to shift."

The Coast Guard spent more than 175 hours searching for the missing people, covering over 9,200 square nautical miles with assistance from local crews and Good Samaritans, according to the agency.

RELATED: Man Clinging to Boat Rescued Nearly 2 Days After Capsizing: 'A Truly Incredible Outcome'

As the Coast Guard suspends its search and rescue efforts, the National Transportation Safety Board will now begin to "figure out what happened here so that hopefully we can learn some lessons that help us to prevent this from ever happening again," Watson said at the press conference.

"We just came here from talking to the families," he added. "Told them what I'm telling you all now. There was a lot of hugging and a lot of crying. There was a lot of sadness and grief. But there was also a lot of hope and a lot of faith, still. I just want to say to all those folks, our deepest sympathies extend to you all."

The Seacor Power lift boat departed from Port Fourchon around 1:30 p.m. on April 13. Around 4:30 p.m., Coast Guard watchstanders received word that the 129-foot commercial vessel was in distress and issued an urgent marine information broadcast to call for help.

TWITTER

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

At the time, civilians managed to rescue four of the boat's crew members, while Coast Guard crews rescued two others.

Five bodies were recovered in the following days.

The Lafourche Parish Coroner's Office has identified the deceased as Anthony Hartford, 53; Lawrence J. Warren, 36; James Wallingsford, 55; Ernest Williams, 69; and the boat's captain, 63-year-old David Ledet, according to WDSU.

A spokesperson for the Lafourche Parish Coroner's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

"I would like to extend my deepest and most sincere condolences to the families, friends and loved ones — all those impacted by this terrible tragedy," Watson said in a press release from the Coast Guard. "I know that this is an immensely difficult time for you all, and for the entire maritime community."