Coast Guard suspends search for missing crewmember on Mississippi River

USCG file photo

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard suspended its search of a missing crewmember that was aboard a towing vessel that sank Saturday in the Mississippi River, just south of Convent, La.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the missing crewmember’s family and friends,” said Cmdr. Kelly Denning of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. “We appreciate all the support provided by our state, local and industry partners in the search effort, especially the quick response by the Port of South, La.  Based on several eye witness accounts, however, we have determined that the missing crewmember was onboard the vessel when it sank.  Pending further developments, we have decided to suspend the active search.”

The Coast Guard and the Port of South, La., conducted an extensive search of the area, conducting five sorties, totaling 15 mission hours and covering approximately 85 river miles.

 The following assets aided in the search:
  • Two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans;

  • A 45-foot Response Boat – Medium crew from Coast Guard Station New Orleans;

  • A Port of South Louisiana response vessel, PSL Responder.

The river is open to one-way traffic from MM 158 to MM 162 until Sunday morning when dive and salvage operations will commence.  Updates will be given by New Orleans Vessel Traffic Service.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report this morning that the UTV Miss Natalie capsized and sank near mile marker 163 on the lower Mississippi River at approximately 8 a.m. with five people aboard.  Four persons were able to escape the sinking vessel and were picked up by a good Samaritan.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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