Personnel with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Cameron Parish Sheriff's Office helped coordinate and rescue a missing Kaplan boater on Nov. 18 in Cameron Parish.
Jacob Blanchard, 31, left the Lakeside public boat launch at approximately 7:30 a.m. and headed to a camp near the Old Intracoastal Waterway near Grand Lake. After being reported as on overdue boater, LDWF agents received information mid afternoon of Blanchard's potential whereabouts from the Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office.
LDWF quickly dispatched eight agents and five boats to the area, but were hampered with strong north winds, high seas and shallow water. Since the water was making a boat rescue difficult and agents were concerned for the missing person not being found with temperatures expected to fall to low 50s, LDWF requested a USCG helicopter to assist with the rescue.
LDWF agents provided the USCG helicopter with GPS coordinates and an outlined grid description for a specific area to search. The helicopter arrived in the Grand Lake area at 6 p.m. and began searching the east side of Grand Lake and the Old Intracoastal Waterway.
At approximately 6:30 p.m. the helicopter located a subject flashing a light on the south bank of Grand Lake near Betty Lake in Cameron Parish. The helicopter was able to air lift the victim from his boat to the helicopter and fly Blanchard to Chennault Air Field in Lake Charles.
Blanchard said he ran out of gas on his trip across Grand Lake and due to high seas had drifted to the south bank obscured behind a rock dam.
"The smooth coordination between our department, the Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office, Coast Guard and the subject's family helped find and retrieve this young man very quickly," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division. "If he would have had to spend the night in the cold conditions, then hypothermia could have been a very real possibility."
For more information, contact Captain Jubal Marceaux at 337-491-2580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.