A Louisiana barge worker who had been missing since March has been found dead in the Mississippi River, according to authorities.
The body of the worker, identified as 23-year-old Stephen Edward Vial, was discovered on Saturday night in the river near the town of Marrero, La., the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
The barge worker had been declared missing on March 8 after he failed to show up for work. The U.S. Coast Guard had launched a search for Vial, who was an employee of Lawrence Barge Line, based in Marrero.
The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Lawrence Barge Line did not respond to a request for comment.
The discovery of Vial’s body follows a week of heightened attention to the Mississippi River, during which the Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies mounted an extensive search for the missing barge worker.
The search included the use of aircraft, vessels, and divers, but authorities were unable to locate Vial until Saturday night.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said it was contacted by the Coast Guard Saturday evening with information that a body had been located in the Mississippi River in Marrero. The body was determined to be that of Vial.
The death of Vial marks the latest tragedy in a series of incidents involving barge workers on the Mississippi River. Last month, three barge workers were killed in a collision between two barges near Vacherie, La.
The Coast Guard is investigating the incident and has yet to issue a statement on the cause of the collision.
The U.S. Coast Guard, in tandem with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, has confirmed the demise of 23-year-old Stephen Edward Vial, a Louisiana barge worker previously listed as missing since 8 March.
Vial’s body was discovered on Saturday night in the Mississippi River near the town of Marrero, La., and his identity was determined by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. An autopsy will be conducted by the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office in an effort to ascertain the cause of death.
The search for Vial, an employee of Marrero-based Lawrence Barge Line, had included the deployment of aircraft, vessels, and divers; however, the barge worker was not located until Saturday evening.
This fatality is the latest in a series of unfortunate events involving barge workers on the Mississippi River, with three deaths occurring in a collision between two barges near Vacherie, La., last month. The Coast Guard is currently conducting an investigation into the incident, yet to issue a statement on the cause of the collision.