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Canadian search ends for 16 missing in crash

world Updated: Mar 14, 2009 09:31 IST

AP
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Rescuers have ended a search for 16 people missing in an Atlantic helicopter crash, saying there was no likelihood of finding survivors.

Rescue official Maj Paul Doucette said crews quit an active search on Friday evening, nearly 34 hours after the helicopter went down about 30 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.

One survivor and the body of another person were found after the Sikorsky S-92 issued a distress call and ditched into the sea. The helicopter had been en route to offshore oil facilities.

Maj Denis McGuire of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre said police and Transport Canada were taking over what has been classified as a recovery mission.

"We've gone beyond that 24-hour life expectancy time for someone in an immersion suit," McGuire said in announcing the end of the search.

He said that the families of the missing persons are "distraught" but understand that there is almost no chance of survival after more than 24 hours in the ocean.

Mike Cunningham, lead investigator for the Transportation Safety Board, said the helicopter will be raised from the ocean floor, an operation that could take about a week.

Crews worked overnight with the help of night-vision goggles, but there were no signs of more survivors 24 hours after the Thursday morning accident, Canadian authorities said.