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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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3 die in separate weekend boating accidents

3 die in separate weekend boating accidents

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A 5-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man have died in separate boating accidents in Lafourche Parish, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said. A third accident in St. Bernard Parish killed a 64-year-old man.

The boy, Ethan Hancock of Houma, drowned under a towboat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Bourg, about 54 miles southwest of New Orleans, said Adam Einck, spokesman for Wildlife and Fisheries' enforcement division.

He said both Lafourche Parish cases remained under investigation Sunday, but no charges had been brought.

He said Robert Sims of Metairie died when his head hit a piling near Grand Isle.

Hancock and his father had been frogging in a 14-foot boat which ran out of gas near Bourg, Einck said. He said the father was paddling to shore when the tugboat approached, pushing two barges about 11:40 p.m. Saturday, Einck said. He said father and son jumped out, afraid the lead barge would hit their boat.

The child was wearing a life vest, but "got sucked under the tugboat and didn't resurface from under the tugboat until 7:30 a.m.," Einck wrote in a news release.

Einck says agents were told Sims was leaning out of a fast-moving 28-foot boat to act as a lookout when his head hit a piling in Caminada Pass about 1:15 a.m. Sunday.

He said in an email that he did not know what Sims was supposed to be looking out for. He says the boat was going fast in the pass, heading from Grand Isle to Port Fourchon.

"Alcohol does not appear to be a factor at this time," he wrote.

The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office said David LeBlanc Jr. of New Orleans fell into the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Sunday morning while trying to tie his boat to a platform.

Investigators told news outlets that neither LeBlanc nor the friend with him was wearing a life vest.

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