Three people died Thursday when their helicopter crashed in the Gulf of Mexico on the way to an oil rig, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The search continued for two others who were on the helicopter.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Renee Aiello said Jefferson County authorities had pronounced the three dead. She said a Coast Guard cutter would remain in the crash area overnight and aerial searches would resume Friday morning.

Aiello said the Coast Guard was alerted after Rotorcraft Leasing Co., a helicopter leasing company in Broussard, Louisiana, reported its pilot had not checked in as scheduled.

A rescue helicopter crew found the three bodies and debris in the water about two miles off the Texas coast.

The helicopter was headed toward an unmanned oil platform about 18 miles offshore, Aiello said.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington said investigators would work with the Federal Aviation Administration to determine the cause of the crash.

Sabine Pass is about 90 miles east of Houston.