Simmesport fisherman presumed drowned in Red River accident

Fishing vessel swamped by swell from tugboat

State and parish agencies were continuing a search Wednesday for a commercial fisherman whose vessel sunk in Red River Monday morning.

Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Steve Martel said the presumed drowning victim is Chester Bordelon, 58, of Simmesport.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries and APSO deputies searched the Red and Atchafalaya waterways but have been unable to find Bordelon, his body or his vessel. The Coast Guard searched from the air while state and parish agents patrolled the Red and Atchafalaya waterways.

Bordelon was reportedly attempting to pass a commercial tugboat in his heavily-laden fishing vessel when the smaller craft was swamped by a swell from the tugboat and sunk. The fisherman was believed to be on the fishing boat, but authorities could not confirm that, the LDWF spokesman said.

The Coast Guard spokesman said the incident occurred at Mile Marker 11 on Red River, north of Simmesport, which is near the Three Rivers (Richard Yancey) Wildlife Management Area. The Coast Guard has suspended its search operations “pending development of new information.”

LDWF agents “are continuing to search. That’s what we do,” the department's spokesman said.

Martel said APSO deputies will also continue searching.

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