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  Four people are reported dead after a Super Puma helicopter ditched in the sea of Shetland.

The L2 helicopter was taking 16 people and two crew from oil and gas platforms when it went down west of Sumburgh Airport.

Fourteen people were rescued by the Coastguard and taken to a hospital near Lerwick.

Speaking to the BBC at the time, Jim Nicholson, RNLI rescue co-ordinator, said: “There was a fresh wind, not overly strong, visibility is not particularly good and it was misty in the area but I doubt if that would have had any impact on causing whatever happened to the helicopter.”

A CHC spokesman said: “We can confirm that an L2 aircraft has landed in the water, approximately two miles west of Sumburgh.

“The aircraft was on approach to Sumburgh Airport at approximately 6.20pm when contact was lost with air traffic control.

“We can confirm there were 16 passengers on board, and two crew.”

The company operating the aircraft on behalf of Total, CHC, has set up a helpline for concerned relatives on 01224 296 866.

In a statement First Minister Alex Salmond said: “”Our thoughts at this difficult time are with the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident.  We also hope that those who were injured can make a full and speedy recovery. I would like to pay a massive tribute to all of those brave and hard-working individuals involved in the rescue effort and in treating the casualties when they were brought ashore.

“It is still too early to know what caused this terrible tragedy, but a full investigation by the relevant authorities is already under way. The Scottish Government is in regular contact with all the agencies who have been involved in this rescue and recovery operation through our Resilience process.”

In a statement, Unite union’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Our immediate thoughts are with those people and their families and we can only hope for good news although as time goes on the situation becomes more worrying.”

Mr Rafferty added: “This brings into sharp focus once again the very precarious nature of the transportation of workers to and from offshore platforms. The health and safety of working people is our priority and we will be watching events closely as they happen.”

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend Lorna Hood, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved in the Super Puma helicopter crash off Shetland and especially those waiting news of their loved ones.”

The aircraft had only recently been cleared to resume flights after a ten month grounding following two ditchings last year.

Last month the European Aviation Safety Agency approved a proposed interim measure to repair gear shaft problems which had caused the ditchings.

A series of town hall meetings were staged prior to the flight resumption aimed at reassuring offshore industry workers that the repairs had eliminated the problems.

Comments  

 
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Macart
2013-08-24 00:49

Thoughts are with the families at this time. Hoping for the best.
 
 
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clootie
2013-08-24 06:17

Macart

Agreed – this is the area I work in. The emergency services have done an excellent job given the location where it came down.

I just hope they allow the investigation to take place before jumping to conclusions about the cause. The pilots / air crew /CAA do a great job and the aircraft do not return to service or fly unless deemed safe to do so. Some of the language being used will upset many families of those who continue to work offshore.
 
 
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Macart
2013-08-24 06:50

Absolutely clootie. Its one of the worlds toughest runs as you’re well aware. Folks should let the services and authorities do their jobs. This is going to be hard enough for the families.
 

 
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Breeks
2013-08-24 06:29

Sad news, and my thoughts too go to the families. Its no doubt a credit to pilot, drill and training, plus rescue services that so many are safe, but that also adds more cruelty to the misfortune of those lost.
 

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