Update: Search suspended for four missing in chopper incident in Gulf of Mexico
Following hours of searching, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has made the decision to suspend the search for four people aboard a downed helicopter, which went down in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico while departing from an oil platform.
Offshore Energy reported late on Thursday evening (European time) that the Coast Guard was searching for four people aboard a downed helicopter, which was reportedly in the process of departing an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico when it crashed.
In an update a few hours later, the Coast Guard confirmed that Coast Guard District Eight watchstanders received a call at approximately 8:40 a.m. (local time) from Rotorcraft Leasing Company personnel stating a company helicopter with four people aboard went down in the Gulf of Mexico about 10 miles off Southwest Pass, Louisiana, while in the process of departing an oil platform.
After the call, Sector New Orleans watchstanders coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew and a Coast Guard Station Venice 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew to assist in the search.
The crew searched approximately 180 square miles for eight hours. The search was suspended on Thursday at approximately 6:15 p.m. (local time).
Kevin Keefe, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, commented: “It is always a difficult decision to suspend a search. Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and friends during this difficult time.”
The Coast Guard further disclosed that the rescue crews involved in the search were Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew and Coast Guard Station Venice 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew.
This is not the only incident in December 2022, where the Coast Guard’s assistance was required, as another chopper, which – during its attempt to land on an oil rig – went down with three people aboard in the Gulf of Mexico. However, all three passengers were last reported to be in stable condition.
Prior to this, the Coast Guard medevacked a 60-year-old male worker from a Transocean-owned drillship located 189 miles south of Port Fourchon. In addition, an injured crewmember was medevacked from an oil tanker approximately 58 miles offshore Southwest Pass, Louisiana.
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