Recovery planned for crashed Canadian helicopter

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sikorsky S-92: detail of rotor
Image: David Monniaux .

The fuselage of the Sikorsky S92 helicopter that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday has been found at a depth 120 to 150 meters and is being retrieved. 17 of the 18 people who were on board the helicopter died after it crashed.

Personal belongings, upper and lower segments of the main entrance door, the aft cargo door, and one emergency exit door have been recovered. “We totally dissect everything we can and certainly that is going to be an area that will be examined," said Mike Cunningham, lead investigator with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB). "It looks like the fuselage is relatively intact." An underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is aiding in the investigation.

“The structure of the aircraft, the body of the aircraft seems to be in relatively solid state. The tail section has broken off and it is lying by the side of the aircraft which is not a problem. We are still evaluating how it’s going to be brought to the surface but we believe it should be done relatively easily, possibly in a couple of days,” said Charles Laurence, TSB’s lead investigator of operations.

The remaining victims may still be strapped within their five-point harnesses.

The mayday to Transport Canada aviation database reported oil pressure in the main gearbox which caused the problem. The gearbox links the engines and transmission and is located on the top of the fuselage and under the main rotor head.

Robert Decker remains in critical at the St. John's Health Sciences Centre but has stabilised. It is reported that he suffered a broken bone, hypothermia and had aspirated sea water.

The recovered body is that of Allison Maher from Aquaforte, Newfoundland, aged 26. Throughout the search and rescue there were no locator signals received from survival suits of any of those missing.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have released the names of twelve of those who are are still missing. It is a partial list, as some relatives were "not prepared at this point of time to release the names of their loved ones, and we respect that," said Supt. Reg Reeves.

They are:


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