PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. (WVUE) – After the Coast Guard suspended their search Thursday night, recovery efforts are expected to resume Friday morning (Dec. 30) for potential survivors of a helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico.
Around 6 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 29), the United States Coast Guard called off the search and rescue mission for four people on board a helicopter that crashed around 8:40 a.m. The crew searched approximately 180 square miles for eight hours.
Pieces of the helicopter that crashed off the Louisiana coast have been located, but officials say there’s still no sign of the passengers.
Family members were told the oil rig company would resume recovery efforts Friday at first daylight.
Coast Guard officials say the helicopter was reportedly in the process of departing an oil platform when it crashed. Witnesses said they saw the aircraft hit the helicopter pad, then tumble into the water. The Coast Guard does not believe anyone made it out of the helicopter.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Jose Hernandez says Rotorcraft Leasing Company owns the helicopter. When the crash happened, he says the pilot had just picked up three oil workers from a Houston-based Walter Oil and Gas platform.
The helicopter went down about 10 miles offshore of Southwest Pass, a shipping channel at the mouth of the Mississippi River southeast of New Orleans.
Weather didn’t appear to be a factor in the crash, Hernandez said, as there were no reports of storms in the area Thursday.
Family members identified one of the passengers as 36-year-old Mississippi oil rig worker David Scarborough. His current status is unknown, but he just finished a two-week stint onboard the rig and was on his way home.
Scarborough has worked offshore for eight years. He and his wife, Lacy, lost their baby, Sawyer, to drowning in March this year. Lacy is now pregnant with a second son.
Two weeks ago, the Coast Guard rescued three people after a helicopter crashed off the Louisiana coast while attempting to land on an oil rig platform. That crash occurred Dec. 15 south of Terrebonne Bay, roughly 60 miles (96.56 kilometers) west of the area the Coast Guard was searching Thursday.