‘It hit us like a ton of bricks:’ Boater describes storm that capsized ship off Louisiana coast


PORT FOURCHON, La. (NewsNation Now) — A boater who got caught in the storm which overturned the Seacor Power and other vessels off the Louisiana coast Tuesday said the dramatic rise in wind and waves moved in quickly “like a tsunami.”

Bruce Simon said there were more than 20 people on board his 150-foot crew boat as he headed in to make a crew change Tuesday afternoon. He said they were prepared for a storm, but didn’t expect it would be strong enough to capsize a boat.

Then they heard the mayday calls from the Seacor Power, which had 19 people on board at the time.

“I heard everything. I heard all the mayday calls of it,” Simon said. “Once we heard the call, it hit us like a ton of bricks.”

Simon said he was approximately 20 miles out from shore when the storm hit his vessel, bringing winds which he says surged over 100 mph and waves that were at least 15-feet high.

“It was going over the boat, breaking over the boat, so I was saying waves were getting to 25, 30 feet high and when we would go in one, it would come up, and we’d go inside the next one – kind of like a tsunami, it was crazy,” he said.

Six people who were on board the Seacor Power were rescued alive and one person’s body was recovered from the water Wednesday, the Coast Guard said. The search continues for the remaining 12 crew members.

The details that led up to the turnover are under investigation, but Coast Guard Capt. Will Watson said winds were 80 to 90 mph at the time the turnover happened.

The storm also overturned other vessels and damaged property from Louisiana’s shore up to New Orleans.

Port Fourchon, Louisiana’s southernmost seaport, is a major base for the U.S. oil and gas industry, supporting most of Louisiana’s offshore platforms and drilling rigs.

Watch the full interview in the embedded player.

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