Thu, March 19, 2009
World > Americas

Hundreds mourn victims of Canada helicopter crash

2009-03-19 00:41:03 GMT2009-03-19 08:41:03 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

OTTAWA, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of mourners attended a memorial service Wednesday for the 17 people killed when a helicopter crashed into the Atlantic off Canada's island Newfoundland province last week.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams and Lieutenant-Governor John Crosbie also attended the ceremony at the Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a 154-year-old church located in downtown St. John's, capital of Newfoundland.

"It was a wonderful service," Harper said as he left the church. "I hope it was a great comfort to all of the families. This is a tragedy that has touched people across the country."

Only one person survived when the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter plunged into the icy water with 18 people aboard. The chopper were ferrying oil workers between St. John's and an offshore oil platform when it reported mechanical troubles and went down soon after last Thursday.

Investigators have removed all 17 bodies from the crash site, using remote operated vehicles.

The helicopter's data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have also been recovered and taken to Ottawa for analysis. Officials say they are in good conditions and could provide vital information about what happened in the minutes leading up to the deadly crash.

Investigators are now trying to recover the fuselage of the helicopter from the ocean floor, where it rests 178 meters below the water surface, about 65 kilometers from St. John's.

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