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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Community rallies, helps save 3 missing South Lafourche natives

Community rallies, helps save 3 missing South Lafourche natives

The South Lafourche community showed its power and unity on Sunday night when a local mom posted on Facebook that her husband, son and nephew were missing.

Lindsay Duet took to social media, posting an online plea, asking the community to look for the missing trio – adult Jeremy Duet, his 8-year-old son Justin and 7-year-old cousin Cullen St. Amant.

They were supposed to be enjoying a fun-filled day on the water, but were reported missing to authorities when they departed a family camp on Sunday afternoon to Jet Ski, but never returned.

The post gained steam, generating more than 2,000 shares. Once it was viral, thousands sent their prayers. Dozens of others took to the water in search for the missing party.

The end result was a happy one to what could have been a tragic story.

The trio was missing for more than 12 hours, but were found safe on the water at sun-up on Monday morning – stranded on a sandbar, which caused the Jet Ski to stay stuck.

The experience is one the family will never forget, Lindsay Duet said.

She took back to Facebook on Monday morning to report the good news, while also thanking the people of the community for their support.

Later on Monday afternoon, she elaborated, explaining the circumstances of the long day.

“Thank God that everyone was safe and unharmed,” the mother said. “All else doesn’t matter. This community pulled together for our families because that’s what we do here. Not knowing was just terrible, but we came through it with the love, help and support of our family, friends, loved ones, strangers, community and beyond.

My heart is full. Thank you all.”

For the family, it was all supposed to be a routine Mother’s Day on the water.

Lindsay said Jeremy Duet decided to take the boys for a spin, while waiting to boil crabs in the evening. The trip started fine, and surveillance video from a camp spotted the group gliding through the water along Bayou Lafourche just past 4 p.m.

The problem came when the Jet Ski got trapped in sand, which didn’t allow them to return home. Jeremy decided it would be best to wait for the tide to change before making a move, keeping the group stationary for several hours.

Cullen St. Amant’s father, Shane, said the caring nature of Jeremy throughout the ordeal made things so much better for the boys. He said Jeremy shielded the kids from the wind, and ran the Jet Ski engine to keep them warm.

“They weren’t harmed at all,” Shane St. Amant said. “He took care of them.”

But that didn’t make it any easier for the folks back home who didn’t know what was going on.

Lindsay Duet said the nervous waiting was difficult to deal with – one of the most helpless feelings she’s ever experienced in life.

Family members Facebook pages lit up with locals who expressed support or offered to help – a process that lasted late into the night on Sunday and even into early Monday morning.

“It was one of the loneliest feelings in the world,” she said.

The big break came right at sunrise on Monday when family relative Ben Sanamo found the group, then guided them to safety.

The boys were unharmed, resting comfortably while the dad watched for search parties. Jeremy said he could see sirens and boats flashing their lights, but couldn’t generate their attention – until Ben Sanamo came.

Lindsay said the entire situation was a miracle – an act of camaraderie and unity from the people here.

Today, less than 24 hours later, Justin was back at play, riding his 4-wheeler in the family’s yard.

As for Cullen? The first thing he said when he got back onshore was something not common among young boys.

“He was ready to eat,” Shane St. Amant said with a laugh. “He wanted to eat. We’re just so glad Cullen is OK.

Thank God for the people who looked. Thank God for the people who found him. Thank God for those who gave their support. We’re grateful and thank God for keeping them safe.”