The The Coast Guard has called off its search. for a helicopter that crashed near New Orleans, officials said Friday, dimming hopes of rescuing four people on board.
A pilot and three oil workers were coming from a rig operated by Houston-based Walter Oil and Gas when the accident occurred around 8:40 am CST Thursday in the Gulf of Mexico, authorities said.
“Once a case is suspended, it basically means that we will stop looking until we find new information that really helps us with the search,” Coast Guard Petty Officer José Hernández told NBC News on Friday.
“Let’s say someone actually sees a body or reports something (new) to us that will help one of our assets.”
Hernandez, a spokesman for the 8th Coast Guard District in New Orleans, said Walter Oil and Gas is likely to resume the search for the downed vessel.
A representative for Walter Oil and Gas could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
The Bell 407 helicopter crashed about 10 miles from the Southwest Pass shipping channel, at the mouth of the Mississippi River southeast of New Orleans, authorities said. The NTSB is investigating.
No bodies were immediately found, but the Coast Guard on Thursday published images debris: several yellow cylindrical objects floating in the water.
The Coast Guard sent an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and a 45-foot response boat who searched 180 square miles for eight hours, authorities said.
“It is always a difficult decision to call off a search,” the Coast Guard lieutenant commander said. Kevin Keefe said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences and condolences to family and friends during this difficult time.”
The Coast Guard rescued three people two weeks ago after their helicopter crashed while trying to land on another oil rig near New Orleans. the officials said. That December 15 accident was about 30 miles south of Terrebonne Bay.
The Associated Press contributed.