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Tchefuncte River Boater Pronounced Dead; Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Agents Investigating

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

The female boater, who was found alive after spending a night in the Tchefuncte River during treacherous weather, was pronounced dead at the hospital this morning, April 14.

Posted: Apr 12, 2021 8:19 AM
Updated: Apr 14, 2021 2:50 PM

Laura Thomas, 26, of Covington, died from her injuries this morning at the Lakeview Regional Medical Center in St. Tammany Parish.

Thomas was operating a personal watercraft (PWC) on April 9 in the Tchefuncte River and when she didn’t return search and rescue teams were notified around 9 p.m. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office (STPSO) deputies and the U.S. Coast Guard immediately responded to the scene and searched for Thomas until 2 a.m. on April 10.

Authorities resumed the search at first light on April 10. A good Samaritan found the missing PWC in the Tchefuncte River around 10:30 a.m. on April 10. STPSO deputies then found Thomas around 11 a.m. with only her head above water while wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).

She was transported to the boat launch where emergency medical services brought her to the Lakeview Regional Medical Center.

The LDWF Enforcement Division will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident. LDWF agents believe at this time that Thomas struck a downed tree in the water and she was ejected into the water. The PFD kept her afloat until she was found the next morning.


Authorities were able to locate a missing boater that was reported missing on April 9 in St. Tammany Parish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office (STPSO) deputies and the U.S. Coast Guard were alerted about a missing boater around 9 p.m. on April 9 in the Tchefuncte River. The search party responded to the scene immediately and had to halt the search due to poor weather conditions around 2 a.m. on April 10.

Authorities resumed the search at first light on April 10. A good Samaritan found the missing personal watercraft (PWC) in the Tchefuncte River around 10:30 a.m. on April 10. STPSO deputies then found the missing 26-year-old female around 11 a.m. with only her head above water while wearing a life jacket.

She was transported to the boat launch where emergency medical services brought her to the Lakeview Regional Medical Center and is listed in critical condition.

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