Two more men were confirmed dead on Saturday after the Seacor Power oil exploration vessel capsized off Louisiana earlier this week, leaving four dead.
Authorities confirmed that they had recovered the bodies of Anthony Hartford, 53, from New Orleans, and James Wallingsford, 55, from Gilbert, Louisiana.
According to the two men’s bodies, they were found in a boat capsized by a diver. Coast guard..
A man identified as Ernest Williams, 69, in Arnaudville, Louisiana, was recovered from water Thursday, according to a coroner’s office. David Ledet, 63, from Thibodaux, Louisiana, was discovered by the Coast Guard on Wednesday.
The cause of death of the four crew members has not yet been clarified.
Captain Will Watson, commander of the New Orleans Coast Guard, said: “We are using all available assets to continue our search efforts.”
Seacor Power ship capsized on Tuesday Gulf of Mexico During a fierce storm with 19 people on board.
Immediately after the accident, six of the 129-foot liftboat crew were rescued from the water. About nine crew members have not yet been discovered.
According to the Coast Guard, divers have multiple access points on their upward-facing vessels and hope to be able to rescue the trapped crew.
Authorities say they still consider the surgery to be a rescue, not a recovery mission.
“We expect the crew to be alive, so we are doing our best to contact the crew and take them home,” said Coast Guard Lieutenant John Edwards.
The Coast Guard expects the crew to survive in the air pockets of a capsized but not completely submerged ship.
The diver knocked on the hull on Thursday, but there was no response from the inside.
“While the crew’s search activity continued, the incident was declared a serious marine casualty,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.
Rescue operations lasted several days but were postponed at some point on Friday due to bad weather.
“I’m scared, devastated, and broken,” Dara Morales, whose son was on board, told NOLA.com. “I just want my son to go home to the children.”
Morales’ son is Chaz Morales, 37, a ship crane operator and three fathers.
The Coast Guard states that it has searched a total of 72 hours covering approximately 6,380 square miles in “a region about the size of Hawaii.”
Seacor Power is a lift boat operated by Seacor Marine. Investigations are underway on where the ship was heading and what its post-incident mission was.