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Breaking NewsLouisiana

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Passengers of Overdue Aircraft in the Gulf of Mexico

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard suspended its search for the two people aboard an overdue helicopter that crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, Monday. Coast Guard crews searched over 4,117 square-nautical miles for approximately 68 hours but were unable to find the passengers. “It is never easy to suspend a search,” said Lt. Cmdr. Michelle Ferguson from Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. “We searched diligently with our pilots, boat crews and cutter crews but were unable to find the two men aboard the helicopter. Our condolences go out to the friends and family of the two men.” Watchstanders at Coast Guard District Eight received a report at 10:37 a.m. from Panther Marine that the helicopter crew did not reach their destination. The passengers were transiting from one offshore platform to another but Panther Marine lost communications when they were 10 minutes from landing. The crews last known position was 13 nautical miles west of Southwest Pass, Louisiana. The tail number of the helicopter, N79LP and the owner, Panther Marine.

Involved in the search were:
Coast Guard District Eight watchstanders
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders
Coast Guard Cutter Sawfish crew
Coast Guard Station Grand Isle Response Boat-Medium boat crew
Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew
Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin aircrew
Coast Guard Station Venice Response Boat-Medium boat crew
Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew
Panther Marine