The U.S. Coast Guard suspended a search late Tuesday night for two men missing after a tugboat capsized and sank Monday morning on the Mississippi River near Chalmette, Louisiana.
The towing vessel Natalie Jean was pulling a barge when it struck a docked ship around 9:45 a.m. Monday at mile marker 90.5. One person was rescued by a nearby vessel, the Earl Gosling, but two men, identified as Malon Dawsey and Karl Prince, remain missing.
A 43-hour search encompassed 101 square nautical miles, but officials said they ultimately found no signs of the missing men.
Several agencies were involved in the search, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the New Orleans Harbor Police, Plaquemines Port Authority, St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Offices, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Natalie Jean was carrying an estimated 600 gallons of fuel, but no spills had been reported as of yet. The vessel had not been located as of Tuesday afternoon.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
This was the second incident in the past week on the lower Mississippi River, which is experiencing high water levels as ice melts and rainfall from upstream bottleneck in the lower part of the river. A tow barge struck the Gov. Nicholls Street Wharf in New Orleans last week, causing damage to some pilings, but no injuries were reported.