At approximately 8:40 a.m. CST on Thursday, December 29, a helicopter crashed while leaving an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter was downed near the Southwest Pass, a shipping channel near the Mississippi southeast of New Orleans. Four people were on board, including three platform workers and the pilot.
Witnesses report seeing the aircraft hit the helicopter pad before crashing into the water.
Following the incident, the U.S. Coast Guard initiated a search for the missing persons by boat and helicopter. They covered 180 square miles in 8 hours; however, they were unable to find any signs of the occupants.
At 6:15 p.m., the search was suspended.
“It is always a difficult decision to suspend a search,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Keefe, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator. “Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and friends during this difficult time.”
As of now, it’s unclear what caused the incident. Petty Officer Jose Hernandez, a spokesman for the Coast Guard’s 8th District, said that it did not appear to be caused by weather as there were no storms in the area.
The platform is owned by Houston-based Walter Oil and Gas.