Diver involved in Seacor Power search and rescue exposes alleged unsafe working conditions

Louisiana

PORT FOURCHON, La. (KLFY) — A diver who assisted in the search inside the capsized Seacor Power is exposing why he believes a better job could have been done.

19 people were aboard the Seacor Power when it capsized on April 13. Six were saved, six were found dead, and seven remain missing.

This diver’s identity is being protected, but he’s speaking because he wants the affected family and friends to know what happened.

A picture that’s been seen countless times has a new meaning.

The skiff shown in the photo to the right is where the dive launched from. It’s not tied to anything but the handrails of the Seacor Power. That was one of many red flags one diver had. He also remembers the creaking sounds the sunken lift-boat made under the stresses of waves and currents.

In his words, “We all came to the conclusion that leg was holding the boat up and if that thing crashes, where is it most likely to crash, and where can we be tied off to that we can cut that line off and not be drug down as this thing is going down?”

The main thing the divers wanted was a bigger boat so that they were not pulled out of the Seacor Power by their safety ropes if the skiff broke free.

The diver said that in Port Fourchon, there were better equipped diving boats for the job, with built-in decompression chambers, unlimited air, water heaters to prevent hypothermia, better capability to independently anchor, and more. Many of which were not on their small skiff.

In the case of the decompression chamber, it was more than five minutes away on the motherboat which meant it was not feasible to use and so what could have been a 45 minute dive window became a 35 or 30 minute one.

“The divers were doing as they told, but they were not given the proper equipment to do the job,” the diver explained. “You don’t send your infantry to fight a war with slingshots.”

He also said information that could have helped with the search, like which floors survivors were assigned to, was not shared.

“You don’t want to send search and rescue to an empty room if you know it is most likely empty. You’re going to concentrate your efforts where you are most likely to find a survivor. They didn’t give us that information, so we had to do a room-by-room sweep,” the diver added.

layout of the Seacor Power

News Ten did reach out to the senior manager for the Pheonix International contracted divers about the equipment used on this job. We were told they do not comment about operations to the media.

“The diving conditions are by far the worst conditions I have ever been in. Not just because it was engulfed. Not because the seas were bad. It’s just that if there’s a moment that they said to call an all stop and don’t do this, that was it,” the diver explained. “There were textbook red flags everywhere. Don’t do it. The only reason diving operations continued was because somebody needed to do it.”

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