For a sixth day, rescue teams returned to a capsized lift boat in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana on April 18, looking for nine crew members who have not been found, the Coast Guard said.
Officials have released little information about their ongoing search in the murky seas surrounding the capsized Seacor Power lift boat, about 8 miles offshore, since the announcement that divers found two bodies inside the ship on Friday night.
Six people were rescued alive after the boat capsized in a storm on Tuesday, April 13. Four bodies were found: one Wednesday, one Thursday and two on Friday.
Families of the missing crew members have not reported that they may have found an air pocket or are still alive.
"We have hope," Marion Cuyler wrote in a text message to a reporter.
Cuyler texted her fiancé, crane operator Chaz Morales, that the weather seemed too bad to hit the road on Tuesday. She said Morales texted her wishing he could stay ashore.
"We are not defeated. We will continue to fight," Cuyler texted a reporter late Saturday.
The sizeable ship capsized south of Port Fourchon on Tuesday afternoon, an important base for the US oil and gas industry. It has three legs that it can lower to the seabed to lift it out of the water as a temporary platform.
Divers try to enter the capsized boat, which has part of the overturned hull and one of the legs above the water when the sea is 15 to 17 meters high. Air and water rescue workers have searched an area the size of Rhode Island for the remaining nine missing crew members.
"We will continue to search," said John Michelli, Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Sunday morning. "We've been basically 24-7 since the beginning."
Michelli referred questions about the dive operation to New Jersey-based Donjon Marine Co., contracted by boat owner Seacor Power to lead the underwater search. A company spokesperson referred questions back to Houston-based Seacor Sunday morning, and the company did not respond to a phone call or email.
The boat was en route to a Talos Energy Inc. oil platform. at the mouth of the Mississippi River when it was overtaken by a storm with winds of 130 to 90 mph and waves 7 to 9 feet high (2.1 to 2.7 meters), the Coast Guard has said.
Talos Energy said in a statement that it was Seacor Marine's decision to send the boat out on Tuesday.
"The Seacor Power was in port for service and inspections a few days before departure. The ship was not at a Talos facility and was under the full command of the Captain and Seacor Marine, including when it had to leave port", Talos Energy said in a statement given Saturday to The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate.
Talos Energy said company officials were heartbroken and prayed for anyone affected by the tragedy.
Seacor did not respond to Talos Energy's statement.
One of the bodies recovered on Friday was Anthony Hartford, a 53-year-old ship's cook. His wife said she was knocked on the door at 3 a.m. and told her he was dead, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported.
"It's not a feeling right now," said Janet Hartford.
In the kitchen, six withered red roses were in a vase. She said her husband brought the flowers and cake to work for her birthday on March 30. It was the last time she saw her 24-year-old husband and the father of their four children.
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