BARATARIA, La. (WVUE) - The fishing community is mourning the loss of a well-known charter captain from Barataria who lost his life in a plane crash Sunday evening (Aug. 19).
Among those mourning is Joe Bourgeois, who is devastated over the loss of his cousin, popular fisherman Theophile Bourgeois.
“He was always smiling. He was one of the finest kids you’d ever want to meet. It’s going to be a big loss,” Joe Bourgeois said. “He was a hard worker and very intelligent. He did all of his own work."
Bourgeois owned and operated Bourgeois Fishing Charters in Barataria and was known for flying customers to the Louisiana Barrier Islands for a special fishing adventure, one Dariel Leboeuf said he was passionate about.
“He loved to fish, but I think his biggest passion was flying. I think that was his absolute passion and after he got his plane, all he wanted to do is fish with it,” Leboeuf said.
Sunday afternoon, Bourgeois’ seaplane, a Cessna 206, crashed near Chandeleur Sound as they traveled back from a fishing charter.
Bourgeois died and the Coast Guard rescued two other people. The National Transportation Safety Board said it’s investigating the official cause of the crash, but family members believe weather played a role.
“What we heard was it was two planes, a friend of his and him were coming back and a squall came up. He went around one squall and Theophile took the other route around a small squall, and I guess he got into a bigger situation,” Joe Bourgeois said.
The fishing captain will be remembered as one of the greats in the fishing industry, with a larger than life personality and a contagious smile.
“His personality had a lot to do with it. We’d get ready to charter and the weather would be as bad, as it is today, and he’d tell them the chance to catching fishing from a one to ten would be a two, and they still wanted to go out. He’s a great guy,” Leboeuf said.
Bourgeois’ family said the charter company will continue to operate. The conditions of the two people who were rescued was not known Monday.