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UPDATE: Coast Guard, partner agencies searching for missing person in Lake Pontchartrain

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UPDATE: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident that occurred on March 6 in Lake Pontchartrain; body recovered and identified.

Posted: Mar 6, 2021 9:51 PM
Updated: Mar 7, 2021 3:22 PM

UPDATE:  Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident that occurred on March 6 in Lake Pontchartrain.

LDWF agents along with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of Rod Willhoft, 33, of Arabi, around 11 a.m. on March 7 near where the incident took place.

LDWF agents were notified about a boating incident in the middle of Lake Pontchartrain around 6 p.m. on March 6. Agents learned that a 24-foot bay boat with five passengers on board collided with the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge on Lake Pontchartrain.

Willhoft was ejected from the boat and entered the water and didn’t resurface. The other four passengers stayed in the vessel. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office was first on the scene and transported the four passengers to a boat launch. Two of the passengers were airlifted and the other two were taken by ambulance to University Medical Center in New Orleans. The four passengers sustained serious injuries and are listed in stable condition.

The LDWF Enforcement Division will lead the investigative agency for this fatal boating incident. Willhoft was not wearing a personal flotation device when he entered the water.


NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard and partner agencies are searching for a missing person near the Highway 11 drawbridge in Lake Pontchartrain.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a call at approximately 7 p.m. stating a pleasure craft with five people aboard allided with the drawbridge and one of the occupants was ejected from the vessel. The other four people were taken to a University Medical Center New Orleans by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for further medical care.

Involved with the search are:

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