Three rescued after helicopter crashes in Gulf of Mexico

HOUMA (AP) — Three people on board a helicopter that crashed Tuesday into the Gulf of Mexico have been safely rescued.

The crash happened around 1 p.m. about 30 miles southwest of Terrebonne Bay.

Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega said they received the initial call at 1:06 p.m. by the oil rig Trinity V. The rig reported a downed helicopter at Ship Shoal 208, southwest of the bay, with three people in the water, he said.

The three people on board the chopper were rescued by the nearby offshore supply vessel, the Judy D, which is owned by Marine Transportation Services Inc., Vega said.

The Coast Guard said no injuries were reported. But Ken Perry, owner of Perry Flying Center, told The Daily Review of Morgan City that the pilot and two passengers had minor injuries and were airlifted to Thibodaux General Medical Center for treatment.

Perry said the helicopter, owned by Panther Helicopters in Belle Chasse, was based out of Patterson. A person who answered the phone at Panther Helicopters said there was no one immediately available to comment.

Panther Helicopters confirmed to the Coast Guard that only three people were on board, Vega said.

He did not know the cause of the crash, and he said Coast Guard involvement with the case was minimal.

Perry said an attempt to recover the helicopter likely will be made, and the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct an investigation.

"I'm just thankful they're alive. The Gulf can be unforgiving," Perry said.