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Borneo Post: Sarawak Shell to retrieve fallen Super Puma

Borneo Post: Sarawak Shell to retrieve fallen Super Puma

Monday 27 June 2005

By George Francis

MIRI – Sarawak Shell Bhd has commenced operation to salvage a Super Puma helicopter that plunged into Bintulu waters, 11 kilometres before reaching its destination – B-11 gas production platform – on June 18.

A series of technical-logistical and strategic discussions had taken place before mobilisation on the scheduled offshore salvage operation.

The company, an exploration and production arm of Shell Malaysia has less than two weeks time to retrieve the chopper 100 metres below the water surface before its beacon signal fades.

Shell wants the chopper intact following the retriever to facilitate civil aviation investigation into the cause of the accident.

At 12.05 pm on June 18, the pilot contacted Miri helicopter base saying the chopper encountered difficulties in manoeuvring and six minutes later a May Day Call was sent before making a “controlled emergency landing” at sea.

The chopper reportedly descended and spun before landing at sea and flipped.

All 13 people onboard including two pilots applied their underwater survival skills and via emergency exits individually and reached for the water surface.

Shell emergency response team’s support vessel located them within 30 minutes and all 13 men were rescued in 18 minutes and safely evacuated to B-11 platform before being flown by a Medivac helicopter to Miri.

Two of the rescued men who had been kept back for medical observations at the Columbia Asia Medical Centre, and were discharged on Friday June 24.

The rest underwent standard observations following the rescue.

Meanwhile, following the success of Shell’s helicopter underwater escape training (HUET), the media members in Sarawak and Sabah have been invited to join a study tour of the company’s training facilities and emergency response centre here today.

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