Pilot Identified After Crash In Atchafalaya Basin [Updated]
UPDATE: According to AP, officials have identified the body as 29-year-old Casey Clark of Great Falls, Montana, as the pilot who died in the crash Wednesday. Clark had been working for Gulf Coast Helicopters and was living in Pearland, Texas.
UPDATE: The body of the helicopter pilot has been found after crashing into the Atchafalaya Basin on Wednesday.
The wreckage was found this morning, and now authorities are telling our news partners at KATC that the body was found in the Atchafalaya Basin. Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal says the victim was the only person onboard.
The pilot was initially flying from Gonzales to New Orleans but rerouted to Patterson after hitting stormy weather.
UPDATE: The Iberia Sheriff’s Office says the helicopter has been found, but the search continues for the pilot.
As of late Wednesday evening authorities were still investigating a helicopter crash that occurred in the Atchafalaya Basin. The crash occurred in Iberia Parish near what is often referred to as the panhandle.
Sheriff Louis Ackal of Iberia Parish told media outlets that as of late Wednesday the aircraft in question was a civilian helicopter. Earlier reports had suggested that a military aircraft might have been involved.
The aircraft is registered to Gulf Coast Helicopters, a private company, that is based in Pearland Texas. Reports of a possible missing helicopter were first reported to the FAA around 4 PM Wednesday afternoon.
Agents with the FAA, the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Department and St. Mary Parish Sheriff's department are currently on the scene of the crash. Agents with Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries as well as service personnel with the United States Coast Guard are also on the scene of the crash.
Early reports from Wednesday evening indicated there was at least one person in the water. Louisiana State Police were reported to have used a helicopter to search for heat signatures in and around the crash site. The helicopter completed a grid search last night and was expected to resume an aerial search beginning at dawn.
The flight plan according to Gulf Coast Helicopters indicated the aircraft was enroute to New Orleans when bad weather forced the aircraft to change plans and divert to Patterson Louisiana.
[Details in this report were compiled from information provided by KATC Television in Lafayette]