The U.S. Coast Guard “black hull” cutter USCGC Cypress, which was taking part in Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, crashed into a dock early Monday morning before the celebration began. Local reports from 4WWL claim that royalty from the Krewe of Zulu, one of the largest Mardi Gras krewes in the city, were on board when the accident occurred. Luckily, no injuries have been reported.
Hundreds of parade-goers were waiting for the royal court to arrive when the Cypress hit the dock at Woldenberg Park in the city’s French Quarter. Law enforcement officers from the New Orleans Police Department were quick to clear the scene and assist the USCG personnel. The Krewe of Zulu king, 86-year-old George Rainey, was unfazed by the incident, telling reporters that despite the hiccup, the celebration was still “one of the greatest days” of his life. King Rainey and the queen, Kailyn Rainey, were quickly whisked away from the scene via a golf cart.
A Coast Guard public affairs specialist informed NEWSREP that a “black hull” cutter like the Cypress is used for maintenance of aids to navigation missions. The Cypress is a buoy tender cutter, responsible for ensuring the navigational buoys in the Mississippi River and the Port of New Orleans are functioning properly. According to the USCG, the Cypress entered service in 2002 and is equipped with “automated engineering controls, computer-based navigation, and communication equipment,” and is also capable of taking on “search and rescue (SAR), law enforcement, homeland security, pollution response, and domestic icebreaking missions.” Coast Guard personnel often assist local law enforcement with security and surveillance during Mardi Gras.
Although no one was injured in Monday’s incident, this year’s Mardi Gras has not been without serious accidents. According to a report from USA Today, a suspected drunk driver crashed into a group of pedestrians early Sunday morning after the Krewe of Endymion parade finished. Two people were killed in the accident, and seven others were injured. Bystanders who witnessed the crash alerted authorities and assisted police officers in finding the suspect.
“We were able to apprehend the subject so quickly because citizens stopped this individual because they thought they were helping someone who had just been involved in a one-car accident,” said Shaun Ferguson, a New Orleans Police Department Superintendent while speaking to the press.