Nfld. & Labrador

Offshore helicopter crash survivor released from hospital

The sole survivor of an offshore helicopter crash that claimed the lives of 17 people returned to his St. John's home on Tuesday.

The sole survivor of an offshore helicopter crash that claimed the lives of 17 people returned to his St. John's home on Tuesday.

Robert Decker, 27, was released from the Health Sciences Centre — Newfoundland and Labrador's largest hospital — on Tuesday afternoon after spending more than two weeks in hospital and undergoing surgery to stabilize a fractured vertebra in his spine.

In a statement from Decker given to CBC, he said he will now begin the process of piecing together the details of what happened when the Sikorsky S-92 crashed into the water belly first on March 12. He is preparing to speak to authorities.

"Robert offers his personal condolences to the families and friends of the other members of Cougar Flight 491," family friend David Philpott said reading the statement.

"He wishes to assure them that if he is able to offer any clarification of this event which may comfort them, it will be forthcoming as soon as he is able."

Philpott said he expects it will be an ordeal for Decker to recall the crash.

He added that Decker's family is deeply relieved to have him home.

TSB investigators said at news conference March 26 they could safely say that a gearbox filter bowl assembly stud broke in flight, and the Sikorsky S-92 lost oil pressure as a result.