Story at a glance:
- Eleven out of the 19 crew members of the Seacor Power are missing.
- The captain of the ship was recovered dead, as was another worker.
- Some of the crew members may be surviving under the ship, living off air pockets.
Bad weather and technical difficulties are presenting a challenge for rescuers trying to save Louisiana oil industry workers.
There is hope in the rescue mission to find 11 missing people inside the Seacor Power situated 8 miles away from the Louisiana coast.
On Tuesday, the ship flipped over in hurricane-force winds, and two of the missing people managed to communicate with rescuers.
Chaz Morales, a missing Seacor Power crane operator, has a fiancé, Marion Cuyler, who said that authorities told family members late Thursday that the divers, “got up to the boat, got to the hatch and were able to open the hatch slightly,” NOLA reported.
“They didn’t want to open it all the way,” Cuyler said. “There is water behind there.”
Two men were last spotted holding on for dear life on the upside-down hull. However, after a third man fell off and was lost at sea they retreated into the submerged ship, where they may be living off air pockets, authorities said.
Mauritius Bell, diving safety officer at the California Academy of Sciences, told The Associated Press that time is of the essence because the air pockets become depleted of oxygen.
“It would be somewhat analogous to breathing in and out of a paper bag,” he added. “At some point, it’s not survivable.”
“The larger [the ship] the better, and it’s all about time,” Bell said.
Two other men jumped off the hull and were rescued, NOLA reported. Six out of the total 19 crew members have been rescued. Captain David Ledet was recovered dead. The body of another worker was recovered 33 miles away on Friday.
Steven Walcott, the brother of missing worker Gregory Walcott, said, “right now, we’re hoping for a miracle.”
Early Friday, divers would try to get into the vessel as long as weather permits, Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Galarza said.
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