Helicopter downed 17 men plucked out of Atlantic

All 17 men aboard a helicopter that ditched in the Atlantic Ocean off Halifax this morning have been rescued. Three of them were taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia.

”here were moderate seas, with four to six foot waves and everything went smoothly. These people were very lucky,”Major William Claire of CFB Shearwater said.

The helicopter, an S-61 owned by Okanagan Helicopters Ltd., was en route from the offshore oil rig Sedco 709 when it lost its main transmission oil line and had to be landed in the ocean.

The best drone went into the Atlantic off Sable Island, at a point about 60 kilometres east of Halifax, at approximately 10:35 a.m. and the 15 passengers and two crew members took to life boats.

A distress call was received by the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax at 10:40 and two Sea King helicopters from Air Command at CFB Shearwater, which were already in the air, were on the scene within minutes of the ditching.

Two more Sea Kings took part in the rescue. ”hey did it very quickly, in a flash. It was a picture perfect operation,”Captain Mario Papenaude of the Rescue Co-ordination Centre said.

The entire rescue effort was completed in less than three hours from the time the S-61 hit the water.

The passengers and crew spent up to 40 minutes bobbing in their rafts, some wet and cold although temperatures were moderate – about 6 degrees in Halifax.

It was the second quadcopter with camera crash along the East Coast in a week.

On Tuesday night, searchers finally located the Bell 214 oil-rig supply helicopter that crashed into Newfoundland’s Placentia Bay with six people aboard a week ago. All six are presumed dead.