Dec 5, 2013 6:17 PM by KARI BEAL (PHOTO COURTESY: JOHN CALLAIS)
A helicopter in Port Fourchon was carrying 8 passengers and a pilot offshore when it crashed at 8:30 this morning, according to officials who work at the port. No serious injuries were reported after the aircraft rapidly descended from the air and made a "hard landing."
Director Chett Chiasson told KATC, the passengers walked away with minor cuts and bruises; all were headed to jobs offshore. Chaisson also said the helicopter, a Sikorsky S76, attempted to take off from the airport but "never could really get going" and landed across the street next to a warehouse. The helicopter suffered damage to the landing gears and fuel tank damage. Fire officials responded within minutes of the crash and used foam spray to prevent a blaze from starting. According to Lynn Lunsford with the FAA, there was a report that the "wind shifted causing it (the helicopter) to abruptly settle back to the ground."
Port officials also lauded the pilot's efforts, saying he "did a really excellent job by not causing any facilities or having any injuries." The cause of the crash is still unknown.
The 27-year-old helicopter is owned by Mayeux's Flying Service, Inc. It can carry up to nine people and is featured in a safety video on their website's homepage. The company said it has provided services transporting personnel from oil companies to the Gulf of Mexico for 30 years, which they were doing today.
According to the FAA and the NTBS websites, there are no reports of previous accidents with this helicopter. The S76B is powered by a turbo-shaft engine made by Pratt & Whitney Canada engine manufacturing company. Mayeaux's Flying Service, which is based out of Luling, LA, offers services 24 hours a day. Their rates during the day are $7500 per hour and $8,500 per hour at night.