Baltic Sea swallows chopper

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) – A helicopter carrying two pilots and 12 passengers crashed in the Baltic Sea off the coast from the Estonian capital Wednesday, rescuers said. A rescue spokesman said it was unlikely anyone had survived the crash.

The Sikorsky 76 helicopter was on a scheduled commercial flight from Tallinn to Helsinki, Finland, when it went down in strong winds shortly after takeoff about 5 kilometers (3 miles) off the coast, the Estonian rescue service said.

Estonian maritime rescue service spokesman Aivar Muriks said rescuers had made sonar contact with the wreckage on the seabed at a depth of 48 meters (157 feet), and divers were going down to inspect it.

“I’m afraid we haven’t found any survivors,” Muriks said. “It’s not possible to survive at this depth, in my opinion.”

Among those onboard the helicopter, the two pilots and six passengers were Finnish, four passengers were Estonian and two were U.S. citizens, according to spokeswoman Kairi Leivo of the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki. Their names were not released.

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