Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents are investigating two boating fatalities that took place in LaFourche Parish last night, July 30, and early this morning, July 31.
LDWF agents received a call around 11:40 p.m. on July 30 about Ethan Hancock, 5, of Houma, who was reported missing in the Intracoastal Waterway. Agents arrived on scene and with the assistance of the LaFourche and Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Offices and U.S. Coast Guard recovered his body at 7:30 a.m. on July 31.
Agents learned that Hancock and his father were out frogging in their 14 foot mudboat when they ran out of gas near Bourg. The father then attempted to paddle across the Intracoastal Waterway when a tugboat pushing two 297 foot barges came up from behind. The father and Hancock then entered the water with Hancock wearing a personal flotation device. The two got separated with the father able to swim away from the tugboat, but Hancock got sucked under the tugboat and didn't resurface from under the tugboat until 7:30 a.m.
LDWF agents also received a call around 1:15 a.m. on July 31 about Robert Sims, 44, of Metairie, who suffered from serious head trauma after hitting his head on a piling near Grand Isle while boating.
Agents learned that Sims was a passenger on a 28 foot vessel travelling at a high rate of speed in the Caminada Pass in Grand Isle heading to Port Fourchon. Sims was leaning out of the vessel as a lookout when his head struck a piling around 1 a.m. on July 31. Agents arrived on scene with LaFourche Emergency Medical Services within minutes of the incident, but Sims was already deceased.
LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for both boating fatalities. Both bodies were turned over to the LaFourche Parish Coroner's Office.