Several people were missing after a 129-foot lift boat capsized off Port Fourchon, La., the Coast Guard said.
Six people were rescued and a dozen others were believed to be missing after a commercial boat carrying 18 people capsized in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana in a storm on Tuesday afternoon, the authorities said.
The capsizing occurred about eight miles off Port Fourchon, La., and involved a 129-foot commercial lift boat, according to the Coast Guard. A spokesman for Seacor Marine, a Houston-based marine transportation company, identified the vessel as the Seacor Power.
The spokesman, Armond Batiste, said in a brief telephone interview early Wednesday morning that 18 people had been onboard the vessel before it capsized. He said he was unable to provide further details.
MarineTraffic, a global ship tracking site, lists the vessel’s destination as Port Fourchon, about 100 miles south of New Orleans.
The capsizing drew a large-scale rescue effort that continued late into the night, with help from civilian boaters. The Coast Guard said it had deployed two cutters, two smaller boats, a helicopter and an airplane.
Severe weather pounded Louisiana on Tuesday, bringing wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour and an average of three to five inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a flash flood watch for much of the Louisiana coast.
“Ive NEVER Heard soo many MAYDAY calls in my life!,” one man, Bruce J. Simon, wrote in a Facebook post that has been shared more than 3,000 times. “Waves are breaking over the bow! A liftboat flipped.”
He also said “other boats have flipped” and urged people to “pray for the Lost!” Later, Mr. Simon posted two brief videos of a rain-soaked window looking at the bow of a boat as a wave crashed over it.
A message sent to Mr. Simon through Facebook was not immediately returned.
A lift boat is a self-propelled work vessel with a broad open deck commonly found along the Gulf Coast. They support drilling, construction and oceanic exploration and can work in shallow or deepwater settings, depending on their self-elevating capabilities. They can employ legs and jacking systems.
Mike Ives and Lew Serviss contributed reporting.