Tale of Survival in the Ocean After S-76 Crash

 - January 16, 2007, 10:34 AM

Following the crash of a Sikorsky S-76 into the Gulf of Mexico, the two pilots and 10 passengers survived several hours in the water before being rescued, despite their injuries and problems with life-saving equipment. On September 6, at about 4 p.m., the Houston Helicopters S-76 ditched into the Gulf some 24 miles southeast of Sabine Pass, Texas, after a dual engine failure. Everyone evacuated safely, but the captain was unable to retrieve a life raft. In addition, he was having a hard time keeping his head above water because one chamber on his life vest had a leak. After a failed attempt to swim to an oil platform about a mile-and-a-half away, it grew dark and everyone was soon aware that some of the life-vest emergency locator lights did not work. Everyone then huddled together so the remaining operable lights would make as big a light signature as possible. At about 9 p.m., some five hours after the crash, they were spotted by a Coast Guard airplane and a rescue helicopter was dispatched. By 11:30 p.m. everyone had been recovered.