Oct 9, 2013 7:40 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Helicopter Crash, Rescue Efforts

An early morning helicopter crash has left one person dead and two of the three survivors injured. It crashed in the Gulf of Mexico about 30 miles northeast of Venice.

Both the U.S. Coast Guard and Acadian Ambulance responded to the crash, airlifting the three survivors to New Orleans to the LSU Medical Center for treatment.

The survivors work for the Wood Group, which is a Scotland-based energy services company that has several offices in Lafayette.

The pilot, who was killed, works for Panther Helicopters in Belle Chasse.

It was an Iberia Parish vessel that arrived first on scene and was able to reach the survivors. The "Mr. Ridge," a supply vessel, had been underway for about 15 minutes when it got the call about a helicopter crash. The four-person crew aboard the boat was prepared.

"They knew what they were supposed to do, and they knew exactly how to do it, and did it in a very efficient manner," said Jack Jowers, an attorney for Iberia Marine Service, which owns the "Mr. Ridge."

Jowers says crew members rescued three passengers from the water.

"They were able to locate the survivors very easily, turn the boat to the broad side with the rescue ladder, and then the survivors were able to get to the rescue ladder and on board," Jowers said.

Jowers says the U.S. Coast Guard and Acadian Ambulance arrived shortly after.

"The survivors went from our vessel onto a platform, and then evacuated via Coast Guard helicopter from that point," Jowers said.

Emergency responders flew the survivors to the LSU Medical Center, which says it can't comment on the medical status of the two survivors who were injured.

"I'm very proud of our crews, very proud of our guys. They did what they were trained to do and they did it in a very efficient manner," Jowers said.

In regards to Panther Helicopters safety records, the company's choppers have been involved, since 2000, in three previous crashes. One crash happened just two months ago.



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