HOUMA, La. (AP) — One of the five men killed in a late-night boating wreck died after managing to climb onto the barge that his light boat had hit, the Terrebonne Parish coroner's senior investigator said Friday.
"From what we see he was able to climb on it," then passed out and bled to death, Gary Alford said. He declined to say which man's body was found on the barge but Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois later identified him as William Norris Voss, 49, of Katy, Texas.
Voss was one of three men from Texas and two from Louisiana aboard the 24-foot aluminum boat Wednesday night when it slammed into a barge moored at the edge of a canal.
Ernie Bennett, who is on the board of the Houma Oilman's Invitational Fishing Tournament, said the men were among about 3,000 entered in the tournament that began Friday.
The other Texas victims were: Rene Joseph Gauthier, 59, of Houston, an oil field salesman, and Lawrence Henry Flak, 54, of Conroe, a drilling engineer. The two killed from Louisiana were: Michael James Carrere, 44, of Houma and Carey J. Meche, 52, of Metairie, an oil field salesman.
Preliminary results from autopsies Thursday night indicate that all five died of head trauma, Alford said. He said blood was taken for testing, and all of the bodies were released to families.
The crash happened about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans on the Falgout Canal between Theriot and Dulac.
Investigators don't know how fast the boat was going, said Marianne Burke, spokeswoman for the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. She said a bank stabilization crew discovered the wreck Thursday morning and found the body on the barge they were using as a work platform.
Carrere, a co-owner of Tarpon Rentals in Houma, owned the boat that wrecked, said Tony Fazzio, a friend who was with the men hours before their deaths. It is unknown whether Carrere was driving the boat when it wrecked.
Fazzio, who had planned to attend the fishing tournament with the group, said they were returning from a crawfish boil in Dulac to a fishing camp on Bayou Dularge. They had left Dulac about 10 p.m. Wednesday, Bourgeois said.
Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.