One boat that capsized – a commercial lift boat — had 18 people aboard, WWL-TV of New Orleans reported.
By 9 p.m., six people had been rescued, Coast Guard spokesman Jonathan Lally told WAFB-TV of Baton Rouge.
“Currently we have multiple Coast Guard assets as well as Good Samaritan vessels searching for people off of a capsized lift vessel,” Lally told the station.
Stormy conditions and wind gusts of 75 mph caused rough waters in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in at least one boat capsizing, FOX 8 of New Orleans reported.
Louisiana resident Simon Bruce said people fell overboard from more than one boat. He said the “mayday” calls that went out were the most he had ever heard at one time, the station reported.
“I’m on the boat and we’re doing 4 knots, keeping the bow in the wind,” Bruce told FOX 8. “Waves are breaking over the bow.”
One Facebook user claimed several people had been rescued, NOLA.com reported.
Coast Guard spokesman Lally said the search would include the use of helicopters if conditions make it possible, the FOX 8 report said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.