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Wed, Aug 10, 2005

Helo Down: Baltic Sea

All 14 On Board Feared Lost

ANN Real Time News: 1630 EDT -- All 14 people on board a Copterline-owned Sikorsky S-76 appear to have been lost when the aircraft went down in the Baltic Sea between Helsinki, Finland, and Tallin, Estonia, Wednesday. Searchers now report having found some bodies in the wreckage.

0950 EDT -- Estonian search teams say they can't find any sign of survivors -- or bodies -- in the submerged wreckage of a Copterline aircraft that went down in the Baltic Sea Wednesday. The aircraft, on a flight from Helsinki, Finland, to Tallin, Estonia, went down in about 200 feet of water, during storms that kept ferries between Helsinki and Tallin in their ports.

"We couldn't find anybody, only debris," Estonian rescue spokesman Aivar Muriks said. He told reporters that divers were searching in water about 50-60 meters (165-200 feet) deep. "Apparently, the impact of the crash was quite hard," he said.

0815 EDT -- Rescue crews in Finland scrambled Wednesday to pull 14 people from the Baltic Sea after their Sikorsky S-76 went down on a flight from Helsinki to Tallin, Estonia. There was no immediate indication of the occupants' status.

"A rescue is going on," Estonian Interior Ministry spokeswoman Jaana Aduson told Reuters. "The border guards are working with rescue helicopters and rescue vessels. There's also been a rescue helicopter dispatched from Finland."

The passengers included six Finns, four Estonians and two Americans, according to reports from the scene.

"At this moment only one of the propeller blades is visible above the surface of the sea, but there's no sign of people," according to one Copterline employee quoted by The Baltic News Service.

The helicopter went down in weather that forced the cancellation of ferry service between Helsinki and Tallin. Russia's news agency, ITAR-Tass, reported thousands of people had been left without electrical power because of the storms.

FMI: www.ilmailulaitos.fi/home

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