17 feared dead as copter falls into frigid Atlantic

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Ontario (Canada), Mar.13 (ANI): At least 17 people, including 16 offshore oil rig workers, are feared dead after their helicopter fell in to the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday.

According to a Globe and Mail report, the helicopter had flown out of St. John's, and was hit by mechanical problems half-an-hour later above the choppy seas of the North Atlantic. One person was rescued and one fatality confirmed.

Earlier, the pilot decided to turn back, and at 9:18 a.m. local time, as the unspecified problem persisted, the first mayday call went out. The pilot attempted to ditch the Sikorsky S-92 - which also carried a co-pilot and 16 offshore-oil-rig workers - and land it in the water.

Ten minutes later, a search aircraft spotted the helicopter, lying upside down in the frigid Atlantic.

When rescue helicopters arrived another 35 minutes later, the doomed helicopter had sunk beneath the waves.

Two life rafts floated nearby and were empty.

The lone survivor was identified as 30-year-old Robert Decker, was scooped from the water shortly after the crash. He was listed in critical but stable condition last night at a St. John's hospital.

Decker worked for Provincial Aerospace Ltd., which does ice surveillance for the offshore platforms.

The one man confirmed dead worked for the same company and was on his first trip to the rig. (ANI)

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