Helicopter located in Gulf of Mexico after oil rig crash


Four days after the helicopter crash that killed four men in the Gulf of Mexico, family confirmed the helicopter has been located.

Three oil rig workers and a pilot were on board when the Bell 407 helicopter crashed Thursday morning as it was departing an oil platform. Now, the next steps are raising the aircraft and recovering the men, though family members aren’t yet sure when this process officially begins or how soon their loved ones will come home.

The location of the helicopter comes after days of waiting and anguish for the family of one man on board, 36-year-old David Scarborough. His wife Lacy Scarborough said for days, she was getting nowhere with updates on the search for her husband’s body.

“In the beginning, they seemed very concerned about getting the men out, but now it’s just like… I’m not really sure,” Lacy Scarborough said. “They have no answers. Everything is, ‘We don’t know. We’re doing grid work, but we don’t know. We haven’t picked anything up.’ I’m here, the other three guys’ families are all across Mississippi and one is in Louisiana and one is from another country, so it’s like, we don’t have each other. We can’t come together because we’re all getting something different.”

David Scarborough had worked offshore for eight years, had just completed a two-week shift and was on the way home to celebrate Christmas with his family. His wife Lacy is pregnant with another child after the couple lost their first to an accidental drowning in March. Scarborough was also the nephew of a WLOX staff member.

WLOX is also learning more about another passenger on board: Tim Graham of Quitman, Mississippi. The Clarke County Tribune reported Thursday evening that Graham was one of the four men on board. WLOX has reached out to family in hopes of learning more about Graham.

According to Officer Jose Hernandez with the U.S. Coast Guard, Rotorcraft Leasing Company owns the helicopter. The company still has not released the name of the passengers or the pilot, nor released a statement regarding the crash.

The crash wasn’t the Louisiana-based aircraft company’s first; it was the third of 2022. The most recent crash was only two weeks prior on Dec. 15, when a Rotorcraft helicopter downed near Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana, leaving three passengers stranded. Those passengers were eventually rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The first crash of the year was on Jan. 14, when a Rotorcraft helicopter crashed into the marsh near Lafourche Parish, killing a pilot and a passenger.

The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed Thursday it’s investigating the latest crash.

A search of the NTSB database shows 12 other Rotorcraft crashes since 2004, resulting in 10 fatalities.

NTSB has not yet released reports for any of the company’s three 2022 crashes. The NTSB website says it tries to complete an investigation within 12 to 24 months, but it can depend on factors like the complexity of the investigation and the workload of the agency’s investigators.

WLOX is working to learn more about the company, other passengers aboard including the pilot, and the specific aircraft that crashed.