Oil Rig Transport Helicopter Crash: 2 Fatalities
Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard have announced the recovery of two bodies and the helicopter that had crashed in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday afternoon, June 11, about 90 miles from Houma, Louisiana.
According to the Coast Guard, the civilian helicopter carrying two passengers crashed at about 2:40 p.m. Wednesday as it tried to land on an oil rig platform. They reported receiving the distress call from the rig at South Timbalier Block 317, which is located roughly 60 miles south of Terrebonne Bay.
The rig immediately deployed a life raft and attempted a rescue, but the helicopter sank below the surface of the water too quickly for that effort to be effective. The Coast Guard deployed several vessels, including an HC-130 Ocean Sentry plane, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, a cutter and an 87-foot patrol boat, in order to search for survivors. In addition, a dive team from the Adam Challenger vessel joined in with the search, as did a couple of other Good Samaritan vessels. The divers finally found the bodies of the deceased workers between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. this morning.
The helicopter had been contracted by the Wood Group, the oil and gas company operating the rig. The owner and operator of the downed helicopter, which was a Bell model 206-L4, was Westwind Helicopters.
So far, the Coast Guard has been unable to confirm if the two bodies pulled from the Gulf are the two missing passengers from the helicopter crash. According to the Wood Group, however, the victims were not employees of the company.
This is the second such crash in the same general area in less than a year. In August 2013, another helicopter crashed as it was attempting to land on another rig platform about 30 miles southwest of Terrebonne Bay. In that crash, thankfully, a nearby ship was able to rescue three survivors, and there were no fatalities.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will conduct an extremely thorough investigation to determine whether this crash was caused by pilot error or a mechanical problem with the helicopter, whether it’s due to a defect in the copter or possibly inadequate maintenance. Every helicopter operating in the United States must maintain strict standards set out in the Federal Aviation Regulations. In addition to high standards regarding maintenance, companies must also keep a high standard for pilot qualifications.
If you or a loved has been injured or killed in an accident involving a helicopter, please contact a Texas Aviation Accident Lawyer at Hill Law Firm for advice with regard to the next step you need to take. It is imperative that you act quickly, to preserve evidence, and so that a thorough investigation can be conducted. We want to protect everyone’s rights.