New Iberia man killed on Basin

Deidre Cruse

A New Iberia man was killed when an a drilling rig on a barge servicing an oil well in the Atchafalaya Basin Wednesday afternoon when the rig turned over, pinning him between the rig and a mud storage tank, Maj. Johnny Blanchard of the Iberville Sheriff's Office said.

Skye Sonnier, 30, an employee of Estis Well Service, was pronounced dead soon after the accident at 3:45 p.m., Blanchard said. Firefighters from the Bayou Sorrel and White Castle volunteer fire departments worked until nearly 10:45 p.m. to free the man's body.

Blanchard said the truck-type rig was secured to the barge, but something caused the weight to shift and caused the whole rig to turn over, pinning the man. Five other workers on the rig were not injured, he said.

Working from the Grand River Dikes Boat Launch, nearest to the barge, Blanchard used a 30-foot rescue boat the Sheriff's Office purchased with a Department of Homeland Security grant to carry Acadian Ambulance personnel and their equipment to the scene. When they could do nothing, he took half a dozen firefighters with their equipment to the rig.

Ultimately, they were able to use the jaws of life to move a steel tool box that had pinned the man.