Nfld. & Labrador

Interview with sole survivor of chopper crash will wait: RCMP

The RCMP said Friday that the only person to have survived a helicopter crash off Newfoundland's east coast last week is not well enough to undergo an interview.

The RCMP said Friday that the only person to have survived a helicopter crash off Newfoundland last week is not well enough to undergo an interview.

Robert Decker somehow escaped from a Cougar Helicopters aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, about 55 kilometres southeast of St. John's. 

Investigators suspect the Sikorsky S-92 may have dived nose-first into the ocean. All 17 other people aboard were killed.

The helicopter was transporting crews to two of the three platforms working in the offshore oil industry. The crew had reported mechanical problems with the gearbox minutes before it crashed.

Most of the bodies recovered were still strapped in their seats from the fuselage, which was located on the bottom in 178 metres of water.

Survivor suffering stress

Decker, 27, who worked as an ice spotter, is recovering from severe injuries. A friend of the family said earlier this week he no longer requires continuous use of a ventilator.

Sgt. Wayne Newell said Friday that investigators have been told by Decker's family that he is not yet ready to speak with them, and may not be for some time yet, because of the stress he has experienced.

Newell told CBC News that investigators will wait until Decker is ready before interviewing him.

On Thursday, Mike Cunningham, the Transportation Safety Board's chief investigator, said the investigation is focused on what happened in the cockpit in the final minutes of the flight and will not hinge on what Decker has to say. Investigators do not want to rush Decker or his family, Cunningham said.