Saturday, May 26, 2007
Witnesses say a boater killed in a collision with a seaplane had crossed into the plane’s path as it tried to take off in Bayou Lafourche, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office reported. Michael Lyons, 58, of Hammond, was alone in his 16-foot fishing boat when the accident occurred Thursday, sheriff’s spokesman Larry Weidel said. Detectives’ reports quoted witnesses as saying he apparently tried to swerve left when he saw the plane, but couldn’t avoid the collision, Weidel said. He identified the Cessna float plane’s occupants, all Chevron Corp. employees, as pilot Gary Songy, 53, of Mandeville and passengers James Hunter, 50, of Pace, Fla., and James Parish Jr., 51, of Hattiesburg, Miss.Weidel said all three managed to get out of the partly submerged plane, which flipped over and sank to the bottom of a shallow part of the bayou. All three were released after treatment Friday at West Jefferson General Hospital, he said. A crew from Grand Isle set up booms to keep boats from getting too close to the wreckage, the Coast Guard said in a news release. Authorities do not believe the plane ever became airborne before the wreck. Weidel said the area where the crash occurred is laced with crisscrossing navigational canals, but he could not recall any similar accidents in recent years.