Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents successfully performed a search and rescue mission for two overdue boaters in St. Tammany Parish this morning, March 23.
LDWF agents were called around 7:30 p.m. last night, March 22, about two Slidell men that had not returned from their fishing trip. According to the family of the men, the men left out around 5 a.m. out of Chef Menteur Pass.
LDWF agents immediately responded to the scene to search for the men. Agents deployed a seaplane and vessels and searched all night.
Around 9 a.m. this morning, agents located a capsized 24-foot vessel in Lake Borgne. The LDWF seaplane then located two men waving at the plane from the banks of Lake Borgne around 10:40 a.m.
LDWF agents in vessels were at the men’s locations within minutes of spotting them from the seaplane. LDWF agents then transported the men by vessel to the Rigolets Marina. The men were found wearing their personal flotation devices.
“We are very happy that our agents were able to find these men safe and sound and that they will be returned to their loved ones,” said Major Rachel Zechenelly, the state’s boating law administrator. “We feel that wearing personal flotation devices saved their lives as they probably would not have made it to the shore without them from where their vessel capsized. The agents did a great job of coordinating the search from the water and air to find these men quickly.”
The U.S. Coast Guard and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office also participated in the search.