NEW IBERIA , La., Aug. 4 (UPI) — Emergency officials searched Iberia Parish, La., overnight after a privately owned helicopter crashed in the waters of Atchafalaya Basin.
The three-seat Schweizer H269 helicopter was conducting a pipeline survey when it was reported missing Wednesday while traveling between the communities of Gonzales and Patterson. Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal said its original destination was New Orleans, but the pilot was diverted to Patterson when he encountered stormy weather.
Ackal added that at least one person is in the water, KATC-TV, Lafayette, La., reported. The aircraft can carry up to three people.
Officials began the search after the aircraft did not arrive on time in Patterson.
The sheriff’s departments of Iberia and St. Mary’s parishes, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the U.S Coast Guard and the U.S. Air Force took part in the search for the missing helicopter.
“We don’t have any independent confirmation right now that they’ve actually found something,” said FAA Public Affairs Manager Lynn Lunsford. “I know they were looking.”
The aircraft is registered to Gulf Coast Helicopters, Inc., of Pearland, Texas, an airplane and helicopter rental company. The company’s website identifies it as offering “specialized services for the gas and oil industry.”