Lawsuit: Survivor details moments when lift boat capsizes

NEW ORLEANS — A man who was on a lift boat that capsized eight miles (about 13 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast in April was taking a nap when the boat flipped over, waking him up as his entire room flipped over on its side, according to a lawsuit that was filed by the man.

Dwayne Lewis was one of the six people to survive when the the 175-foot (53-meter) Seacor Power capsized in the Gulf of Mexico on April 13 in hurricane-force winds. Six bodies were found and another seven are still missing and presumed dead.

The lawsuit, described in local media, details Lewis’ hours long ordeal before he was rescued by a vessel as he floated at sea. Lewis said another person on board the vessel rushed into his room when the ship flipped. The duo used a fire extinguisher to break through the window and put on life jackets. The other man said they needed to get out immediately, and he crawled out but Lewis didn’t know how to swim and stayed inside until the water reached his window and a wave sucked him out.

For a while he hung onto a rope but then when that slipped from his hands he floated off. About three hours later he was rescued.

The lawsuit specifically names Seacor Marine as well Semco, which made the boat, as the defendants. It is the latest of several lawsuits filed after the ship capsized.

A preliminary report by the National Transportation and Safety Board said the boat had begun lowering its legs as it tried to turn into heavy winds when it flipped over. Lift boats have three legs that can be lowered to the sea floor to raise up the ship so it can serve as an offshore platform. When the ship is in transit, the legs are raised and stick straight into the air.