Source AP ©

Boat collides with seaplane in Louisiana

A boater was killed in a collision with a seaplane.

Michael Lyons, 58, of Hammond, was alone in his 18-foot (5 1/2-meter) fiberglass Sea Fox with a 50-hp motor when the plane owned by Chevron Corp. was taxiing down the bayou near the company's docks on Bayou Lafourche on Thursday, sheriff's spokesman Larry Weidel said.

Detectives' reports quoted witnesses as saying he apparently tried to swerve left when he saw the plane, but could not avoid the collision, Weidel said.

He identified the Cessna float plane's occupants, all Chevron Corp. employees, as pilot Gary Songy, 53, of Mandeville and passengers James Hunter, 50, of Pace, Florida, and James Parish Jr., 51, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Weidel said all three managed to get out of the partly submerged plane, which flipped over and sank to the bottom of a shallow part of the bayou, its tail and parts of its wings above the water. All three were released after treatment Friday at West Jefferson General Hospital, he said.

Lt. Chuck Comeaux of the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Department said his region, which covers several parishes including Terrebonne and Lafourche, deals with 15 to 20 boating deaths a year.

"I haven't seen a fatal accident with a sea plane and a boat in my 20-year career, so this is a first," he said.

Weidel said the area where the crash occurred is laced with crisscrossing navigational canals.