Sheriff: 3 dead in Louisiana helicopter crash

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Associated Press

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 15 at 4:32 PM

CAMERON, La. (AP) — Three people died in a helicopter crash Friday in a remote area of southwestern Louisiana's Cameron Parish.

Sheriff Ron Johnson said a pilot and two passengers were aboard. All three died, Johnson said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said preliminary information indicates that the aircraft crashed during a maintenance test flight about 30 minutes after taking off from Lake Charles, La.

The crash occurred about five miles southeast of the Lake Charles airport. Johnson said it was reported at 11:45 a.m.

"It is a remote area, and the only access is with four-wheelers," Johnson said. He described the area as wide open pasture land, uneven and in some areas muddy.

Johnson said the FAA was on the scene Friday afternoon. A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said that agency would investigate and would likely be on the scene Saturday.

The helicopter was owned by Era Helicopters LLC, which has headquarters in Lake Charles. Company spokesman Tim O'Leary said the helicopter was an S-76A++ model. Company literature describes it as a 12-passenger, twin-engine aircraft.

O'Leary declined to give details, including the takeoff point or destination, because the crash is under investigation

Era Helicopters' website says the company provides transportation to shallow- and deep-water oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. Its services also include aid in searches and rescues and emergency medical services, as well as airborne sightseeing tours in Alaska.

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