Officials at Era Helicopters LLC and the United States Coast Guard report the recovery of two persons killed in a helicopter accident Monday morning approximately 65-miles south of Intracoastal City, Louisiana. The bodies of the pilot, Denver, Colorado resident John Lancaster, age 46, and his passenger, David Thibodeaux, age 33, of Abbeville, were recovered along with the helicopter wreckage at approximately 10:30 p.m. Monday following an extensive search of the accident area. Mr. Lancaster was employed by Era since July 2006. Mr. Thibodeaux was employed as a production operator by Wood Group Production Services, Inc., of Houma, Louisiana.
The accident occurred at approximately 8:15 a.m. Monday as the helicopter, a Eurocopter EC120, was attempting a landing on an oil and gas production platform located in Vermilion block 200. There were no other passengers on board and no apparent witnesses to the accident.
"All of us at Era Helicopters are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and co-worker and his passenger. This is a terrible tragedy for both these men and their families and we continue to hold the families of these victims in our thoughts and prayers. Over the next several days we will work in cooperation with the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and other agencies to determine what happened and why, and to ensure the safety of all our flight operations," said Neill Osborne, President of Lake Charles, Louisiana-based Era Helicopters.
"We are grateful for the cooperation of the United States Coast Guard, FAA and other responding agencies who assisted in the rescue and recovery operations and extend our thanks to them," Osborne said.
The bodies and the aircraft wreckage were recovered in approximately 100 feet of water near the platform. Early indications are that the helicopter may have come in inadvertent contact with the platform while seeking to make a routine landing. No cause for the accident has yet been determined.
Era Helicopters is based in Lake Charles, Louisiana and is owned by Fort Lauderdale, Florida based SEACOR Holdings Inc. a leading provider of transportation services for the offshore oil and gas industry.