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Bayou fishing ‘legend’ dies after seaplane crashes into waters off Louisiana coast

Mark Price

One of the nation’s best known bayou sports anglers died in a seaplane crash Sunday afternoon off the coast of Louisiana, according the Times-Picayune and other news outlets.

Theophile Bourgeois, the owner of Bourgeois Fishing Charters, was killed when the plane went down in the Chandeleur Sound, the newspaper reported.

Three people were aboard at the time, according to a U.S. Coast Guard press release.

A Coast Guard helicopter responded to the crash around 3 p.m. Sunday, after Bourgeois Fishing Charters reported losing communications with the plane, said the release.

“The aircrew recovered two of the people from the water and transported them to University Medical Center in New Orleans. One of the passengers was declared deceased upon arrival,” the release said. “An MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew from Air Station New Orleans later rescued the third passenger (who) was transported to University Medical Center.”


The Coast Guard later posted video of the third person being pulled up into a rescue helicopter. The two hospitalized passengers have not been identified, while Bourgeois was that deceased passenger, by WGNO and other outlets.

The seaplane went down “approximately 25 miles west of the Chandeleur Islands,” the Coast Guard said.

Details of what caused the crash have not been released and investigators have not said how Bourgeois died.

Bourgeois “was a bit of a living legend as a popular fisherman, fish guide and all around sportsman,” including regular appearances on popular fishing shows, reported TV station WGNO.

He was a licensed pilot, according to WWLTV.com. However, it is not clear if he was flying at the time of the crash.

Bourgeois Fishing Charters was founded in 1992 and offered wade fishing charters in the bayous of southern Louisiana, according to the company’s website. “Licensed and insured captains, make for a fun and safe excursion,” says the site.