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Helicopter with 5 aboard crashes off Texas

A helicopter carrying five people crashed Thursday off the Texas coast. Rescuers found three bodies and continued to search for the others.
/ Source: The Associated Press

At least three people died after a helicopter with five people aboard crashed into the Gulf of Mexico of Texas on Thursday.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Renee Aiello said the Coast Guard would continue searching for the other two who were aboard the helicopter. Aerial searches will resume Friday morning.

Aiello said the Coast Guard was alerted after Rotorcraft Leasing Co., a helicopter leasing company in Broussard, La., reported its pilot had not checked in as scheduled.

A rescue helicopter crew found three people and debris in the Gulf of Mexico, about two miles off the coast. The Coast Guard said in a statement that three were pronounced dead.

"We're still in the process of searching," said Gerald Golden, director of operations for Rotorcraft. "Once we learn anything, we'll be in a position to give more details."

The helicopter was headed toward an unmanned oil platform about 18 miles offshore, Aiello said.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington said investigators would work with the Federal Aviation Administration to determine the cause of the crash.

Sabine Pass is about 90 miles east of Houston.