EFFORTS by Hollywood actor Sean Penn to aid New Orleans victims stranded by Hurricane Katrina foundered badly overnight, when the boat he was piloting to launch a rescue attempt sprang a leak.
Penn had planned to rescue children waylaid by Katrina’s flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch.
The actor, known for his political activism, was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup.
When the boat’s motor failed to start, those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street.
Asked what he had hoped to achieve in the waterlogged city, the actor replied: “Whatever I can do to help.”
With the boat loaded with members of Penn’s entourage, including a personal photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: “How are you going to get any people in that thing?”