Unexpected turbulent weather can turn Lake Pontchartrain into a turbulent and uncontrollable monster. A woman from Brazil who had arrived in New Orleans one month ago learned that harsh lesson when she lost her life to a storm on the lake last week.
The woman and an unidentified man rented a 28-foot bay boat at about 3:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. When the weather became stormy at about 10:00 p.m., the two attempted to return to shore. According to a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, both people were thrown from the boat when the storm caused it to capsize.
The man was able to put on a flotation device, but the woman was not able to don her vest or use it as a flotation device. The man made it to the shore but was not discovered until about 7:30 a.m. on Friday by the Lakefront Airport Fire Department. His identity, if known, has not been released. The U.S. Coast Guard and the New Orleans Police Department joined forces to search for the woman. Her body was discovered at about 11:a.m. on Friday. Authorities did not release any information about the cause of death. According to authorities, the woman had been in New Orleans for about one month before the incident. She was apparently staying with a relative. No information has been released about the man involved in the incident.
The man appears to have been negligent in taking the boat out in threatening weather. Also, he does not appear to have done anything to prevent the woman from drowning. Finally, no information has been released about the man’s prior experience in operating small craft on Lake Pontchartrain. Anyone who has lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to confer with an experienced maritime and personal injury attorney for an evaluation of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages.