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Offshore Helicopter Involved In Incident: Coast Guard

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I still haven't heard the pilot names. Can someone please PM me.


Seems like the fastest way to get information is Facebook. Relatives are posting photos and the community is conversing in large numbers. One woman posted a photo of herself with her husband with his name, but it has been removed.









Posted by: Dana Metcalfe (St. John's, NL) wrote3 hours ago


Heavy hearted I sit here thinking of the tears that fall like rain of the people who lost there fathers,mothers,sons and daughters. I am a mother,I am a daughter and all thats beautiful in ones self is created by the souls that have been put here to teach us about love and life. All day i checked the news and hoped that those souls that were lost would turn up in a happy smiling bundle saved to lavish once more with the gifts they give each and every day. The reality is the somber comforting sound of the ocean will hit the shore and sing a different song to the Newfoundlander that sit's filling his lungs with salt air. It will sing the song of the brave that were needed for a greater purpose those who now travel with the freedom they so solidly deserve. I lost my grandfather at sea, I never got to meet him but the story was he was a brave and strong man,he to traveled the gateway of the sea. I'm sure what's great in him i've learn from my father. So all is not lost they will live on through those they've left behind.....I have learned something today and that is not ever to take for granted those we love and to make sure everyone in my life knows how truly special and loved they are. I hope the families find piece and comfort in all the love and support from all the people that call The Rock home. We all have lost and today everyone I know said a prayer in hopes to prevent the scars on the hearts of the ones we love the family that's identified by the place we were born. May they travel safe to the new place they call home and there journey through the gateway of the sea be swift and warm embraced by the love and wishes of those who loved them dear.


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TSB to try to raise wrecked helicopter


By Tara Brautigam and Michael Tutton,




ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A helicopter that crashed in the ocean while carrying 18 crew and workers to offshore oil platforms off Newfoundland will be raised from the ocean floor, investigators said Friday.


Mike Cunningham, lead investigator for the Transportation Safety Board, said the recovery of the downed chopper from 120 metres of water on the Grand Banks could take about a week.


“We don’t know a lot about what we’ll be facing,” he said during a news conference. “We want to do it safely and we want to do it as quickly as possible.”


Cunningham said it’s possible that balloons could be placed under the helicopter and then inflated to raise it to the surface.


But before that happens, he said a remote submersible equipped with cameras will be sent to the ocean floor as soon as Saturday to examine the wreck.


Cunningham said they will have to be careful not to damage the chopper during the lift.


“This helicopter is full of water now, so it’s quite heavy and it’s not designed to be lifted full of water. It’s designed to fly through the air.”


Ships and aircraft continued to scour the ocean Friday for 16 people still missing from the crash a day earlier. Officials said the search would continue until nightfall before a decision is made on whether to continue.


“We’ll continue until there is no chance of locating any survivors,” said Maj. Denis McGuire of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre told another news conference.


Crews on a Cormorant helicopter and Hercules aircraft used night-vision goggles to search a vast expanse of ocean overnight but found no sign of those missing.


“Our intent is to go until at least last light,” McGuire said.


“Our goal is to find anyone who may be on the surface.”


A body and one survivor were pulled from the ocean on Thursday morning after the Sikorsky S-92 issued a mayday and ditched southeast of St. John’s.


McGuire corrected times the military had previously released for when the crash happened on Thursday, saying the initial times were off by about 30 minutes. The mayday call was sent at 9:40 a.m. and the helicopter crashed at 9:48 a.m. local time.


Officials said shortly after the crash that a person wearing a survival suit could last about 24 hours in water as cold as the North Atlantic this time of year.


McGuire conceded that the “survivability model” of 24 hours in the water had passed since the crash, but said searchers hadn’t given up hope.


“As the time progresses, obviously it becomes less likely that we’re going to be able to find someone,” he said. “But we’re always optimistic, which is why we extend these searches as long as possible.”


Cunningham said the families of those on the helicopter are being briefed regularly.


“We want to be able to give them, and they want, obviously, as much information as they can get in timely fashion,” he said.


Winds were gusting to about 60 kilometres an hour and sea swells were choppy in the search area.


Everyone on board the chopper owned by Cougar Helicopters would have been required to wear a survival suit that could help them stay alive for an estimated 24 hours.


Jeri Grychowski of the search and rescue centre in Halifax said the sky was clear over the search area, which covered 4,400 square kilometres of ocean.


“That’s good for the aircraft,” said Grychowski. “Swells, well, it moves things around.”


The only known survivor, Robert Decker, was in a St. John’s hospital where he was reportedly being treated for a broken bone and hypothermia. He was listed in critical but stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.


“He is starting to show signs of some recovery, but what’s his status, I’m not too sure,” said Trevor Pritchard, general manager of Husky Oil, operator of the Sea Rose floating production vessel on the White Rose oilfield.


McGuire said they didn’t know how Decker was able to get out of the ditched helicopter.


The helicopter, piloted by two crew members, was carrying 14 workers to Sea Rose and another two to Hibernia when it experienced technical problems.


The sister-in-law of one of the missing, Derrick Mullowney, a steward on the Sea Rose, was in tears as she spoke about the accident.


“We only buried his father about a month ago. His father died on Jan. 30 and now this,” said Sharon Mullowney.


She said Mullowney, who lives in the Bay Bulls area near St. John’s, is 52 and has been working in the offshore for 28 or 29 years.


The helicopter reversed course on its way back to St. John’s but soon fell into the Atlantic eight minutes after issuing a mayday.


Two life-rafts were spotted in the water, but rescuers later confirmed they were empty.


Workers who have made the flight to the offshore platforms — located roughly 350 kilometres east of St. John’s — say they are fully aware of the risk inherent in their jobs.


Perry White, an offshore worker since 1982, said the possibility of a crash enters his mind every time he climbs into one of the helicopters.


“But then again, when you look at fatalities for helicopters and you look at fatalities for cars, you’re more likely to be hit by a bread truck crossing the road,” said Perry, who was supposed to fly out to a rig later Thursday but was home sick with the flu.


“My way of looking at it is, if you let that stuff play on your mind, then you’re not going to be out there at all.”


The survival suits that those on board the chopper were required to wear are equipped with water-activated locator beacons. It was initially believed a number of the beacons had been triggered, but officials later said no signals had been picked up from the suits.


The crew of a Provincial Airlines fixed-wing aircraft spotted the helicopter floating upside down about 10 minutes after it hit the water.


Within 45 minutes, two Cougar helicopters hovered above the crash scene, but the chopper had already sunk.


It was equipped with emergency flotation bags, but Rick Burt of Cougar Helicopters said he didn’t know whether they malfunctioned.


The crash comes three weeks after a British Super Puma helicopter went down near an oilfield in the North Sea. All 18 aboard that chopper managed to survive on two inflatable life rafts.


Burt said the company had grounded all of its helicopters.


The Sikorsky, which can seat about two dozen, was on its way to two of the three production platforms on the Grand Banks.


Burt said the helicopter was a “new generation aircraft” that was no older than four years.


The 90-minute shuttle flights are a regular occurrence at St. John’s International Airport, with rig workers typically working offshore for about three weeks at a time.


As many as seven of the workers on the helicopter are believed to be from communities on the province’s south shore, where an estimated 30 per cent of residents are employed in the offshore.


Bay Bulls Mayor Don Drew said people in the community were trying to find if they know anyone on the downed chopper.


“We’re just basically in limbo,” he said Friday. “We’re trying to find out, both through phone calls, emails, Facebook and everything.


“Everyone is just trying to find out who’s involved, hoping for the best, talking to each other. Everyone is just very sombre and hoping for the best. ... It’s just taking the life out of the area.”

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I sit now with a heavy heart, at home in St Johns after having walked up my trail with my wife to throw a wreath in the ocean at 19.30local. Gods speed lads and lassies of this fair Isle, you will never be forgotten.


To you Mr Burt, my absolute and utter respects, to the way you handled the media at such a tough time, JJ and all the crews, we have done nothing but pray for your loss .

I fell very privaledged, when home, to live under the flight path of such a profesional operation.


We will not give up hope.

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"To you Mr Burt, my absolute and utter respects, to the way you handled the media at such a tough time, JJ and all the crews, we have done nothing but pray for your loss .

I fell very privaledged, when home, to live under the flight path of such a profesional operation."






Ditto from the other side of the continent, we're all thinking about them.

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While my deepest condolences go out to the crew, passengers and family's, I can't stop thinking of what the Engineers must be going through at this time. It's every Engineers worst nightmare to lose a ship. My hope is that the investigators will find the problem that initiated this tragic series of events quickly, and the healing process can begin.

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Any words that might be of support just don't come easy following such an enormous tragedy as this, and I feel the burden that so many are carrying in their hearts. It's been very hard to watch the news, and read posts here and elsewhere, without a lump in my throat and a hole in the pit of my stomach. I'm so very sorry for the loss of these great people. I hope and pray now that the sea returns those who are not rightfully hers to keep. Sending love, strength, peace and comfort from across the miles to all effected by these grievous days. Hold tight the memories and one another.

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