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article imageHelicopter Crashes into Atlantic Ocean

By Bob Ewing     Mar 12, 2009 in World
The S-92 Sikorsky helicopter, operated by Cougar Helicopters of St. John's, went down 55 miles southeast of the provincial capital of St. John's.
The helicopter was carrying 18 passengers when it crashed into the Atlantic ocean off the Newfoundland coast. The passengers were all oil industry employees, two were stationed at the Hibernia platform and the others were working at the White Rose offshore oilfield.
One survivor has been flown to a hospital in Saint John's Nfld.
The emergency rooms at Eastern Health have been cleared prepare for what it described as patients who are critically ill and hypothermic.
Lt. David Bowenis a Halifax-based official with military search and rescue and he told CBC News that two persons and a life raft were spotted in the water, about 87 kilometres east-southeast of Newfoundland.
"We don't have any further information on the raft itself," Bowen said.
Apparently, a mayday call was issued at 9:18 a.m. NT, or 7:48 a.m. ET.
Julie Leroux, an official with the Transportation Safety Board, said the helicopter's crew reported mechanical problems, but they did not know the nature of those problems.
Two of the passengers were contractors working at the Hibernia fixed platform nearby and Hibernia is assisting Husky, the operator of the White Rose project, and search and rescue crews.
Amid high winds a Hercules plane was sent from Nova Scotia, as well as four Cormorant helicopters, to the scene.
One Coast guard ship as well as companies active in the offshore oil industry have joined the effort. A supply ship was also en route to the scene.
Cougar Helicopters operates the choppers that fly to and from the three oilfields in production off Newfoundland and is preparing a statement.
Crews that arrived at Cougar's base were told they could not be ferried offshore on Thursday morning.
"All of a sudden, we saw the cameras and police," said Rick Strickland, a steward aboard the Hibernia platform, describing the scene as he learned his transport to the Hibernia platform had been suspended.
"It doesn't scare me as such, no. [But] it always crosses your mind at some point," he said.
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