Atlantic search on for missing oil workers

Canadian search and rescue teams were still clinging to hope last night that they would find 16 missing offshore oil workers and crew members aboard a helicopter that ditched and sank earlier in the day in the cold North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland.

One oil rig worker is known to have survived. He was hoisted aboard a helicopter that arrived at the scene within 45 minutes of the crash. He is recovering in hospital and is listed as being in a critical but stable condition.

In addition to one body, whose identity has not been released, searchers also found two empty life rafts. An empty survival suit has also been recovered from the sea.

The Sikorsky S-92 – operated by Cougar Helicopters – was carrying two workers to the Hibernia rig and 14 workers to the White Rose oilfield more than 300 kilometres off the Newfoundland coast.

Two of those aboard were crew members of Cougar Helicopters.

Waves were reported at three metres with winds at 40 knots.

Passengers on Cougar’s helicopters are issued survival suits before boarding, according to a notice on the company’s website. The suits are outfitted with emergency locator beacons.