Expert explains likely diving recovery system, protocol at Seacor wreckage site

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 9:50 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - These are nowhere near the kinds of waters and conditions the 17 contracted Seacor divers are under in the gulf.

“These guys are full former navy diver is probably full salvage,” said Mark Michaud.

Instead, experienced search and recovery diver Mark Michaud says the diving conditions at the Seacor are much more strenuous and challenging.

“Working in chocolate milk if you will where you can maybe see 6 inches or a foot but it’s very difficult to do with all the floating debris and things that’s in there, what people are sitting on, eating on, getting a groceries out of computers things like that, there’s a lot to deal with,” said Michaud.

Since the Coast Guard suspended their search operations for survivors, it’s now up to the dive operations to recover the eight missing mariners.

Michaud says the divers are likely working in teams, but per diving and safety standards, he explained they can’t stay underwater for long.

“The navy dive table gives us 60 feet for 60 minutes without having to do any decompression,” said Michaud.

He says the teams are also likely gathering information for the investigation which takes a lot of time underwater.

“There’s going to be protocols like there would be at a regular crime scene… these three came from this room, are we going to put some kind of banding system on them, tie rope some piece of something saying the black rope means they came out of this particular room, the yellow rope on this wrist means they came out of another room, well you can’t just start sending them to the surface, you have to send out another driver to get them,” said Michaud.

While the divers continue searching underwater, the United Cajun Navy assists by air as they use two seaplanes to search a wide offshore area.

“We found a life raft and parts of the vessel itself a few days ago and we’ve been searching that area,” said Terrell.

Nearly a week since its capsizing though, it’s believed by searching either the vessel, the seafloor, or the surface of the water they’ll find the missing men and finally bring them home.

“I think at this point they have to clear the vessel today,” said Terrell.

“These people all belong to somebody and if there’s any way possible to get them home so they know where they are forever we’re going to do that,” said Michaud.

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