The Coast Guard called off its search for four passengers onboard a downed helicopter about 10 miles off the coast of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, at 6:15 p.m. Thursday.
At around 8:40 a.m., Coast Guard District Eight watchstanders got a call from Rotorcraft Leasing Company personnel indicating that a company helicopter with four people aboard had gone down in the Gulf of Mexico while departing an oil platform.
Sector New Orleans watchstanders coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew and a Coast Guard Station Venice 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew to assist in the search.
Debris from helicopter crash 10 miles off Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Dec. 29, 2022. The Coast Guard suspended its search for four passengers aboard a downed helicopter. (U.S. Cost Guard photo)
The crew searched approximately 180 square miles for 8 hours.
“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.”
Rescue crews involved in the search were: Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew and Coast Guard Station Venice 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew
This is not the first time in December 2022 that a helicopter has gone down in the Gulf of Mexico, and not the first from by Rotorcraft Leasing Company.
On December 15, the Coast Guard saved three people from a crashed helicopter about 35 miles south of Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana.
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a call at 8:39 a.m. from Rotorcraft Leasing Company personnel stating a company helicopter with three people aboard went down in the Gulf of Mexico while attempting to land on an oil rig platform.
Watchstanders coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew to assist.
The helicopter crew arrived on scene, hoisted the three passengers from a life raft, and transferred them to awaiting emergency medical personnel at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport in Houma, Louisiana.
One passenger sustained back injuries. All three passengers were last reported to be in stable condition.
"The coordination between our watchstanders and the Air Station New Orleans helicopter crew was key to the quick response and rescue of the passengers," said Lt. j.g. Sadie Simons, a Sector New Orleans command duty officer. "After an incident this serious in nature, we are happy all three passengers are back home and safe for the holidays."