The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office was notified about a sunken vessel near the tidewater docks just south of Golden Meadow along La. Hwy. 1 around 8 a.m. on Thursday. Shortly thereafter LDWF agents and LPSO officers arrived on scene to conduct a search of the area.
Searchers found the deceased body of Orand J. Terrebonne Jr., 33, of Golden Meadow in the water shortly after 10 a.m. about a half mile from the vessel. The searchers were able to recover the body and vessel to bring back to the dock. Terrebonne's body was then handed over to the Lafourche Parish Coronor's Office.
The searchers then began the search for Golden Meadow's Simon P. Billiot, 32, the owner of the sunken vessel. An LDWF agent and Port Fourchon Harbor Policeman were able to fly in a VIH Cougar helicopter to help in the search.
Around 2:30 p.m., they found Billiot in the water clinging to the edge of the marsh a canal over from the sunken vessel. Billiot was loaded into the helicopter and airlifted to Our Lady of the Sea Memorial Hospital and treated for hypothermia.
According to Billiot, he and Terrebonne decided to go night fishing the previous evening and left out of Bobby Lynn's boat launch around 7:30 p.m.
Billiot said they went to the bridges near Leeville and fished under the lights without success. In their search to find a better spot, Billiot said they struck an oyster reef and broke the seal on a fiberglass patch on the hull.
Billiot stated that the vessel sank upright, and he and Terrebonne abandoned it in favor of walking back to town through the marsh. He said that after walking some distance the two of them got separated and he decided to try to stay warm until daylight.
The boat was identified as a 14-foot Polarcraft with a hand-tillered 25-horsepower engine.
The LDWF Enforcement Division will be conducting the ensuing investigation. The cause of Terrbonne Jr.'s death is unknown at this time.