No sign of 16 missing after Canadian chopper crash

Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:33pm EDT
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By Greg Locke

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland (Reuters) - At least one person was killed and 16 were missing in frigid, choppy waters off Canada's Atlantic Coast after a helicopter crashed on Thursday while ferrying workers to two offshore oil projects.

One of the passengers was rescued and taken to a hospital and an official said another person had been found dead. Search crews had found no sign of the others, although they were wearing signal equipment designed to help locate them in case of a crash.

"At this time, all we've got is the debris field. There is no indication of survivors, but the search will continue," Denis McGuire of the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, told a news conference.

The survivor, who was from St. John's, was being treated in intensive care, local media reported.

Two life rafts pulled from the water near where the aircraft went down were found to be empty. The passengers and crew were wearing suits designed to help them survive in the water for up to 30 hours.

"We will continue to search until there is absolutely no chance that survivors will be found," McGuire said.

The helicopter sank in the North Atlantic about 40 miles southeast of the Newfoundland and Labrador capital, St. John's, leaving behind a debris field.

It was carrying 16 passengers and two crew and was heading for the Sea Rose production vessel at Husky Energy Inc's White Rose oil field and the Hibernia oil platform when it sent out a distress call at 9:18 a.m. local time (1148 GMT).   Continued...

<p>A Canadian Search and Rescue helicopter takes off from St. John's March 12, 2009 to search for survivors of a helicopter crash off the coast of Newfoundland. REUTER/Greg Locke</p>