Tugboat Captain Dies From Burn Injuries in Louisiana Explosion

Last month, we discussed the fire and explosion near Bayou Perot about 30 miles south of New Orleans after the 47-foot tugboat SHANON E. SETTOON struck a liquefied natural gas pipeline. This video from the Taiwanese graphics service Next Media Animation shows how the fire broke out in the Louisiana waterway, but the Times-Picayune reported that the tugboat captain, Chad Breaux, died on April 10 from the severe burn injuries he sustained.

Lafitte, Louisiana, native Ronnie Dufrene hired Breaux as a deckhand on his boat back in the 1980s. “I was always passing him in the canal on that little tug,” Dufrene told the Times-Picayune. “He was a good fella. He never hurt nobody. He’s been on the water all his life.”

The accident happened where the water reportedly is 1 to 2 feet deep, according to the Times-Picayune. Dufrene said he was familiar with the waters where the accident occurred and travels them regularly. “It could happen to anybody,” Dufrene said.

Lynn Melancon recalled an incident during one December night in 2011 when he and his five-man crew were sent flying after their vessel struck a beam in Bayou Perot. Melancon told the Houma Courier that the injured crewmembers thought they were going to die, but that was when Breaux saw the crew in distress and brought them to safety. Just as Breaux helped Melancon and his crew, Melancon told the Courier that he and his crew—who were working in the same area—played a role in rescuing Breaux after the March 12 fire. Melancon said he wished that Breaux’s story had the happy ending he and his crew’s did in December 2011.

Individuals who sustain injuries in tugboat accidents can be entitled to compensation under provisions of the Jones Act and general maritime law. Latti & Anderson LLP has recovered millions of dollars for injured seamen and the families of maritime workers killed in accidents on the water. Our firm can investigate and determine if negligence or unseaworthiness caused a tugboat accident, and you can find more information about tug and barge accidents by visiting our website. Latti & Anderson LLP recovered a $4.5 million settlement for a crewmember who suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 80% of her body when scalding water burned her while in a pipe tunnel on a tanker.  If you sustained injuries or your loved one died while working on a tugboat, enter your information in the form on this page to let our Jones Act attorneys review your case or contact our firm today at (800) 392-6072 to set up a free consultation.

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