OTTAWA (Reuters) - There are no more survivors from a helicopter that crashed in the North Atlantic off the coast of the Canadian province of Newfoundland, officials said on Friday, confirming that 17 people died in the accident.
One person was rescued after the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter hit the sea while ferrying workers to two offshore oil facilities early on Thursday. One body was also recovered, leaving 16 people missing.
"The likelihood of finding survivors is no longer there," Major Denis McGuire of the rescue operation told a televised news conference in the Newfoundland capital of St John's. The pilot had reported mechanical trouble before the crash.
"At approximately 1930 Newfoundland time (2200 GMT) we'll be handing the case over to the Transportation Safety Board and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a missing persons case," McGuire said.
The passengers and crew were wearing suits designed to help them survive for up to a day, but McGuire said they had been in the water longer than that.
"The (families) are aware that the 24-hour period for survivability in the emergency suits has now passed ... they are distraught," he said.
The helicopter sank about 40 miles southeast of St. John's. It was heading for the Sea Rose production vessel at Husky Energy Inc's White Rose oil field and the Hibernia oil platform.
Hibernia is owned by Petro-Canada, Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron Corp, Murphy Oil Corp, Norway's StatoilHydro and the government of Canada.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway