Two Missing, 15 Rescued in Oil Rig Helicopter Crash
PERTH, Australia (AP) _ A helicopter with 17 people aboard crashed off the western Australian coast today as it ferried workers from an offshore oil rig, and two passengers were missing, an oil company official said.
Dave Agostini, operations manager of Woodside Offshore Petroleum Ltd., said the French-built Puma helicopter went down 7 miles from Karratha airstrip, nearly 800 miles north of Perth, as it returned from the North Rankin oil rig.
Rescue boats plucked the two-member crew and 13 passengers, all employed by Woodside contractors, from the sea and they were taken to Karratha Hospital, he said.
″I don’t know any more about their condition except that most of the survivors walked into the hospital,″ Agostini said.
Three ships and a helicopter were searching for the two missing workers.
Agostini said the helicopter floated for a short time before sinking in about 40 feet of water. ″There was a ski boat in the area that saw the accident and went directly to the site while the helicopter was still afloat.″