Two missing after towboat sinks near New Orleans; search suspended

(NEW ORLEANS) — Following 43 hours of scouring the Mississippi River, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search Tuesday night for two men missing from a towboat that capsized near Chalmette, La., The Times-Picayune reported.

The towboat, Natalie Jean, sank about 9:45 a.m. Monday, prompting a search that encompassed about 101 square nautical miles but that ultimately found no signs of the missing men, according to officials. On Tuesday, the Coast Guard identified the two men as Malon Dawsey and Karl Prince, who were among three men aboard the vessel when it capsized.

Crew aboard a good Samaritan vessel, Earl Gonsoulin, rescued the other man as the towboat was sinking, the Coast Guard said.

Natalie Jean capsized around mile marker 90.5 after a collision, the New Orleans Fire Department said, though officials did not say how the incident occurred. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Coast Guard had not found the vessel.

Click here to read the story.


The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(NEW ORLEANS) — The Coast Guard is searching for two people after a towing vessel sank in the vicinity of mile marker 90.5 on the Mississippi River near New Orleans on Monday.

Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at 9:43 a.m. that the towing vessel Natalie Jean capsized with three people aboard. The good Samaritan vessel Earl Gonsoulin rescued one person.

Involved in the search are Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter air crew, Coast Guard Station New Orleans response boat-medium boat crew, Coast Guard cutter Barbara Mabrity, New Orleans Harbor Police, Plaquemines Port Authority, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Mississippi River is closed from mile marker 89 to 90.5. 

There is an estimated 600 gallons of fuel on board Natalie Jean.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff