Eunice, Basile men aboard chopper that crashes in Gulf

By Todd C. Elliott

A Eunice man was one of four rescued following an early Wednesday offshore helicopter crash in which the pilot was killed.

Tara Fruge-LeBlanc of Eunice said that she was “devastated” after receiving a phone call informing her that her husband’s offshore helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff from a platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Peter LeBlanc was one of four men aboard a helicopter – which was slated for a return to the coast of Louisiana after a 14-day stint – who were rescued after attempting to swim back to the platform following the crash, according to indications and details provided by his wife.

Panther Helicopters said its pilot was killed in the crash, news reports said.

Tara LeBlanc was travelling with Scott and Nicki Miller – who are the parents of Nick Miller of Basile, also aboard the helicopter when it went down in the Gulf. She said that she and the Miller family were bound for LSU Medical Center in New Orleans.

Mrs. Fruge-LeBlanc said that officials from her husband’s employer – the Wood Group company – relayed to her that her husband was “conscious” and possibly “suffered some lower back injuries”.

The Wood Group – which has a base of operations in Broussard – is an international energy services company operating in 50 countries, according to the company website.

Initial reports indicated that two men were evacuated by U.S. Coast Guard choppers to the New Orleans hospital.

However, U.S. Coast Guard officials said that four men were rescued nearly 30 miles of the coast of Louisiana.

As of Wednesday, the status or condition of Nick Miller was unknown.

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