'One of the greats’: Popular charter fishermen Theophile Bourgeois killed in seaplane crash

Theophile Bourgeois (far right) after a charity trip with the Wish to Fish organization. (Photo...
Theophile Bourgeois (far right) after a charity trip with the Wish to Fish organization. (Photo courtesy CT Williams)
Updated: Aug. 18, 2019 at 10:07 PM CDT
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HOPEDALE, La. (WVUE) - Well-known fisherman and charter captain Theophile Bourgeois died after his seaplane crashed near Chandeleur Sound Sunday afternoon (Aug. 18). Two other people were on board when the charter plane went down and all three were rushed to University Medical Center.

Bourgeois was pronounced dead, but the condition of the other two victims was not known Sunday night.

As many of their friends and family were at UMC Sunday night, anxiously awaiting word, those who knew Bourgeois said they are struggling to cope with his death.

A representative with the Coast Guard said Bourgeois’s Barataria charter company lost contact with his plane at around 3 p.m. Rescue crews were alerted to a potential problem and were dispatched to the plane’s last known location in Chandeleur Sound.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries assisted with the search and said the two passengers were found first -- one conscious and the other not -- and rushed them to the hospital. By 7 p.m., the Coast Guard confirmed the third person had also been found and was also being taken to UMC.

However, a short time later the Coast Guard confirmed Bourgeois had not survived.

He was well known among fellow fishermen and charter captains, with years in the seaplane industry. Like others in the business, Bourgeois took folks fishing in the Barrier Islands. According to CT William’s -- Bourgeois friend, fellow charter boat captain, and FOX 8 Big Fish reporter -- Bourgeois took the charter fishing industry to a whole new level after the oil spill.

Bourgeois took customers fishing almost every day, Williams said, and offered them adventure, as well as the opportunity to catch possibly the biggest fish of their lives.

“Oh my goodness, Theophile Bourgeois was one of the greats in our industry. As far as the charter fishing industry went, nobody did it like Theothile. He was a great personality,” Williams said. "Theophile was larger than life. He did a phenomenal job as a captain. He did a phenomenal job as a pilot.

In addition to being an expert fishermen, Williams said Bourgeois was a professional and experienced pilot.

“Theophile knew exactly what he was doing. He was very good at his job,” Williams said.

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